A little under a year ago, you might recall that Fox Sports San Diego made the massive mistake were kind enough to extend Padres Public and Brady from Lobshots an invitation to appear on a Spring Training broadcast. Amongst other things, we spent some of our time off air harassing players/coaches walking by the set in right field (in my case, unaware of the danger I was putting Rick in by pointing him out to Will Venable). One such instance saw Angels manager Mike Scioscia walking by us, and I couldn’t resist greeting him with “Hey! Former Padre, Mike Scioscia!” To my surprise, he gives it a good laugh and replies “YOU REMEMBER THAT!?” I remember most inconsequential Padres, Mike. And today, we celebrate you.
The year is 1993, perhaps the most infamous in the history of the San Diego Padres. One of the first of several dominoes to fall in Tom Werner’s infamous fire sale is Benito Santiago leaving to join the Marlins via free agency*, and the Padres looked to add a veteran catcher to supplement a crew of young(-ish) catchers; Kevin Higgins, Dan Walters, and Dreamy Brad Ausmus. Scioscia was looking for work after it became apparent his job was no longer secure in LA, and San Diego seemed to provide an opportunity to extend the 33-year-old’s career. More importantly for Werner and his Gang of 15, he came with an inexpensive $300,000 (a bit under $500,000 today) price tag.
As many sad tales surely begin, Mike Scioscia rolled into Yuma in February of 1993 and never made it out. While the above Mothers Cookies baseball card photo suggests Scioscia suited up for the Padres at Jack Murphy Stadium, suffering the second rotator cuff tear of his career (the first, incidentally, involved the Padres. Suffered 10 years prior, attempting to throw out the late Alan Wiggins) ended his season during spring training. Actually, it effectively ended his career. He spent spring training with the Rangers in 1994, played one game with their A+ affiliate in Florida State League, and called it a day.
Why did a career Dodger choose to leave Los Angeles for San Diego? While the first notable Dodger was lured to San Diego by big free agent bucks (you okay? Did you faint?), Scioscia didn’t have many options. He was replaced by a rookie named Mike Piazza, who had a slightly better career than Greg Brock. Scioscia has, of course, gone on to win a World Series as the manager of the Angels. Depending on the day and who you ask, he’s either fantastic or the worst manager in baseball. His “coaching tree” has also provided us with Padres manager Buddy Black.
In the end, perhaps he wasn’t so inconsequential? That’s baseball.
* – going back to Benito for a second, he made $3.3M with the Padres in 1992. The Marlins paid him $3.4M in 1993 and $3.8M in 1994. Tom Werner is the worst.
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