Last week, Steve Garvey was listed as one of 12 candidates on the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s “Expansion Era” ballot. A 16-member committee comprised of existing Hall of Famers, executives, and a mix of baseball writers and historians will select some or none of the men on the list to be enshrined in Cooperstown in 2014. If Garvey is selected, he would go in as a Los Angeles Dodger. This sparked another round of the time-honored debate amongst Padres fans about the number 6 on the batter’s eye at Petco Park. It’s tired, but let’s talk about it anyway!
There’s an urban legend amongst Padres fans that Steve Garvey’s number was never officially retired by the Padres, that the “6” was placed on the outer wall at Jack Murphy Stadium to commemorate the home run from game 4 of the 1984 NLCS. It’s a story myself and many others are guilty of having perpetuated. Friend of the program, Jeremy Nash, set me straight on the issue. Take a look at this LA Times article. Here’s the important part:
The Padres paid Steve Garvey the ultimate tribute, making him the first man in the club’s history to have his number retired.
Keith Moreland had worn No. 6 ever since he entered the major leagues 10 years ago, but he gave it up in a pregame ceremony on Steve Garvey Night and switched to No. 7.
After the club president, Chub Feeney, announced that Garvey’s number would never be worn by another Padre, Moreland charged out of the dugout and presented Garvey with a framed picture of Padre jersey No. 6.
In a perfect world, 6 never would have been retired by the Padres. However…if the Padres retiring Garvey’s number was an example of a small-time decision made in desperation, wouldn’t un-retiring the number be a bit of a sad move made in enmity? Would two small-time decisions make a right? There aren’t many examples of numbers being un-retired in sports. Sometimes they’re un-retired for a star player who didn’t switch numbers when moving to a new club in their twilight years (i.e. Peyton Manning in Denver and Jerry Rice in Seattle), when a team un-retires EVERY number and comes up with another way to honor former players (Michigan football), or the Washington Nationals un-retiring numbers when they moved from Montreal. The Padres would be setting a precedent that would, frankly, be rather embarrassing. Haven’t we had more than our fill of that?
The Vocal Minority posts on Mondays. Neither of us has been subject to paternity suits, hosted infomercials, been sued over said infomercials, or had our numbers retired by the San Diego Padres. At the very least, David doesn’t have absurdly manly forearms. This makes him sad, so follow him on Twitter.