Monday, May 31, 2010
Calvin Schiraldi pitched for the Padres toward the beginning of my fandom but I have no real recollections of him. Sure, I'd see his name in the box score or get the occasional card but he never really appeared on my radar. Later, I'd go on to read about his exploits in the '86 World Series and to this day that's still pretty much the only time I ever see him referenced. But, that's all neither here nor there; all that matters is that it's still May and he's rockin' three degrees of bearditude.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
Each of the past two days, I've wanted to post a Jerry Hairy card to celebrate both his unlikely game-winning home run and his unlikely game-winning walkoff home run but, alas, the only card I have of him that I haven't already posted depicts him fully clean-shaven and, as you know, that just doesn't fly around here- not until June 1st at least. So, with that not an option, I'm just going to toss up another batch of beards accompanied by a slew of completely unrelated Padres facts. I hope you enjoy.
1) Of all Major League franchises, the Padres hold the second-WORST all-time winning percentage (.463)- second only to the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays (.432). This season, the Pads have the second-BEST winning percentage (.609) in MLB- second only to the Tampa Bay Rays (.681).
2) Even the most casual fan knows that we've never had a pitcher throw a no-hitter and that we've never had a batter hit for the cycle. However, I frequently notice people inquiring whether we're the only team to not have one or the other. The answer? Yep. However, this was not the case until my brother Paul's birthday last season when BJ Upton of the aforementioned Rays relieved his club of sharing that dubious dishonor with ours.
3) Also well known is that 2001 inductee Dave Winfield was the first player depicted wearing a Padres hat on his Hall Of Fame plaque, joined only by Mr. Padre himself six years later. The first member to have at one point played for the Friars was elected a decade and a half earlier- Willie "Stretch" McCovey in 1986, pictured appropriately wearing a Giants cap.
4) In addition to weighing considerably more than two of me, gargantuan first baseman stuck in left field Kyle Blanks was born on the same day in the same year as my younger brother John. There wasn't much celebrating happening on their fifteenth birthdays as some b-holes chose that day to jack some planes and forever alter the Manhattan skyline and American history books for the worse.
5) In their 42 seasons of play, the Padres have used 23 different Opening Day starting pitchers, led by four-timers Randy Jones, Eric Show and Jake Peavy. Oddly, six hurlers have had multiple Opening Day starts in non-consecutive years: Jones ('75-'77, '80), Show ('84, '86-'87, '89), Ed Whitson ('88, '91), Bruce Hurst ('90, '92), Andy Ashby ('96, '99) and Woody Williams ('01, '05).
6) Halfway through the 1990 season, "Trader" Jack McKeon was replaced as manager with Greg Riddoch. Both men posted identical .463 win percentages.
7) Although 1980 was Dave Winfield's final year as a Padre and he played his last Major League game in 1995, his #31 was not retired until 2001. It was last worn in 1999 by Matt Clement who switched to #21 the following season.
8) 1992 was a record book year for two soon-to-be-jettisoned sluggers. Fred McGriff became the only Padre ever to lead the league in home runs while Gary Sheffield won the batting title- the only Friar other than Tony Gwynn to do so.
10) Shrek and Jairston are the ninth set of brothers who have both worn the Padres' uniform. Including the Hoffmans with Glenn serving as third base coach, the Hairstons are the sixth set to suit up at the same time and the fifth set- along with the Alomars, Mr. Padre and Chris, the Gileses and the Fightin' Gonzali- to be teammates. The three sets of Friar hermanos whose tenures in San Diego didn't overlap are Phil and Jerald Clark, Melvin and Wil Nieves, as well as Mike Maddux and The Professor.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Although this is the one hundredth post, more than a hundred cards are depicted. Including the fourteen in this post, 138 to be exact. This is the part where I get my Wonko on and have some fun breaking down numbers that nobody else is even remotely interested in:
- 3 guest posts
- 16 Tony Gwynn posts, 33 cards (24%)
- 10 cards of Padres pictured with other teams (Abner, Furmaniak, Gaudin, Sut, Jerry Hairy x2, Cora x2, C. Gwynn & B. Giles) (7%)
- 7 non Padres sharing a card with a Padre (Edgar Martinez, A-Rod, Brett Butler & Will Clark w/ Tony, Matt Holliday w/ Adrian & J.R. House and Juan Castro with Ben Davis) (5%)
- Two Dodgers (Butler, C. Gwynn) are pictured, albeit with all references to filthy Dodgerdom obscured.
- 19 players pictured more than once, led by Tony's 33; Klesko & Adrian have 6 & 5 respectively; Broke, Joey, Abner & Briles have 3 apiece.
- This month has far and away been the most prolific, with 29 posts to date showcasing 45 cards, including 23 Tonys in 14 posts. Tied for second are February & April of this year with 12 each.
- Two back to back posts in February are tied for the most comments with 7.
- 63 posts are tied with zero comments.
- My friend Shane a.k.a. Shizzle a.k.a. Sheezy is mentioned, inferred to or referenced on 6 occasions.
- Aside from the two Abners Steve sent with his post, there has been 1 reader contribution.
- 4 logoless oddball cards are depicted
- 1 post doesn't have a card- it's the most important post of them all.
- Gaslamp Ball is mentioned, linked or alluded to more times than can be counted.
- Heath Bell has been mentioned the most times without being profiled
Well, I think that just about puts a bow on it. I'd like to use this part to thank everybody who has read, commented on, retweeted, linked, contributed to or had anything whatsoever to do with these first hundred posts. As always, feedback, submissions, suggestions and anything else you can come up with are more than welcome. Thanks once again.
The last three face-farms were rather man-dude; this one is pretty dude-bro in comparison. Nevertheless, I like it from an aesthetic perspective; it stands out with about being distracting, detracting and/or ridiculous- most of his other looks were at least two if not all three of those...
The next and final(?) installment of this series, depicting a naked-faced Ryan, will be here on June 1st, the high holiday Saint Shavey O'Getthatshitoffyourface's Day which is celebrated by Gaslamp Ballers around the world- I think you know how we observe it. Until then, you won't be seeing any clean-shaven mugs adorning the front page of this humble blog.
Monday, May 24, 2010
I love how he has such a serious face in this picture because nobody looking at it could possibly do the same. It reminds me of the classic Ozzie chopstache, just with a circle goat instead of just a lip warmer. My friend Shane has rocked this look before and I ridiculed him as well, although this was clearly a case of "haters gon' hate" as anyone who has seen my meager collection of sparse face pubes can attest.
Here's Klesko with his most understated look. Some call it a soul strip but when I rocked it, I just called it a facehawk.
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
For whatever reason, I became infatuated with Shawn Abner for a brief period in 1985. I was a sucker for the subsets in the Topps set that year and to me Shawn was the epitome of coolness, however misguided or misplaced that was at the time.
All I knew was that Abner was the number one pick in the draft and that impressed me enough that summer to hold Shawn’s Topps card with great admiration. In fact, that card still brings a smile to my face when I see it.
It probably helped that Shawn was part of the Mets system back then. My friends were abuzz about Strawberry and Gooden. I can’t say I blame them. They were two young players with bright futures and the skills to back them up, so when I saw that Shawn was going to be part of that and he was the number one pick, I was convinced that it would prove to be a winning combination.
While my friends were coveting cards of Clemens, Puckett, Eric Davis, Sandberg, Boggs and other stars of the day, I held on to Shawn Abner. Not only was he the high draft pick, but he had a kind face.
A few seasons had passed and I looked for Shawn on the Mets, but he was nowhere to be found. Unknown to me at the time, Abner had been traded to the Padres and never would see MLB playing time with the Mets.
I fell out of collecting, but I still watched games. Unfortunately, in the eighties there wasn’t interleague play yet and the team that I rooted for was in the American League. My path would not cross Shawn Abner’s again until I got back into card collecting.
By 1990, I had all but forgotten about Shawn. Then as I started buying packs again, I ran across his cards. It was a revelation to see that he was on the Padres! I had heard about the exciting young crop of players that San Diego was putting out on the field the past few years. Names like John Kruk, Joey Cora, Benito Santiago and the Alomar brothers immediately jump to mind.
Plus, there were names I was very familiar with, like Eric Show, Jack Clark and, of course, Tony Gwynn. Those were names that shaped my childhood, but I never knew that Shawn was among those names until I started collecting again.
I had a habit of latching on to players, as a child, for reasons that only made sense to me. I think in Shawn’s case, the deciding factor was his kind face. I can’t say that I remember watching Abner too much as a Padre, but I do recall thinking that good things happen when he’s involved.
1990 was smack dab in the middle of the overproduction period of baseball cards. As quickly as I found Shawn again, it seemed that he was popping up everywhere. This only made me happier. I found out that Abner was a light hitter, but he was a scrappy player that gave it his all. That only led to more admiration from my end.
I was a little disappointed and a little excited when Shawn moved to the Angels. I would get to see him more often. I did get to see him play six games against the White Sox in September 1991. Four hits in six games didn’t make much of an impression, but it was enough to sustain. All of Abner’s hits came in Angel victories against the Pale Hose. That only exaggerated the legend of Shawn Abner as a good luck charm, in my book.
After a Spring Training where I was still lamenting the late cut of John Cangelosi from the previous year, imagine my surprise when the White Sox signed the legendary Shawn Abner! The Sox opened against the team that cut him just a few weeks prior. The Sox swept the Angels to open the season and my stance of Abner as a good luck charm was cemented.
Shawn responded by having arguably his best season in the majors! He hit .279 and replaced Ozzie Guillen’s usual one homer per season with one of his own. Ozzie was out most of the year with a devastating injury when he collided with Tim Raines trying to catch a late inning pop up by the Yankee’s Mel Hall early in the season.
Abner finished up his career with the Sox, but out of mostly bad luck. Injuries kept him in the minors until his retirement.
When I think of Shawn Abner, I first think of the Padres. Then it quickly turns to the White Sox. Some people have labeled Shawn as the biggest bust of the entire draft process. I think that’s a bit harsh. Did he have a Hall of Fame career? Hardly. He did play in the majors from 1987 until 1992. Some number one draft choices never make it to the majors at all.
I’ll always smile when I think of Shawn Abner. He gave it everything he had and managed to have a little success in the majors, along with some great memories. Whether you’re a San Diego Padres fan or a Chicago White Sox fan, those two teams were better off for having Shawn Abner there as a player.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Sunday, May 16, 2010
How do I know this? Because Jeff Pearlman says so. Pearlman's my favorite author/ writer/ blogger- not just because he's incredibly good at his craft (he is), but because his beliefs, whether they're about steroids, gay rights, politics, you name it, align with mine. Also, if someone whose entire adult life has been spent being disillusioned by athletes can form a friendship with and respect the values of one, well, that's a guy I think deserves my admiration.
The more I read about Johnson, the more I look up to him in the same way I look up to Pearlman. He too is "anti-gun, pro-gay marriage, pro-environment and anti-the war in Iraq", a man unafraid to step away from the typical mindset or silence of his peers and not content to be labeled as an ex-ballplayer. Most retired athletes, from what I've seen, are all too satisfied with sitting on their laurels and being defined by what they did, not who they are. I look up to any man who has the conviction to break away from convention and let his voice be heard no matter if- well, especially if it's not something everyone wants to hear. Thank you for being the way you are, Mr. Johnson and thank you, Mr. Pearlman for bringing him to my attention.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
I'm getting ready to run out the door but I thought I'd toss something up here really quick. I'm gonna go hang out with Shane and watch the rest of the Cubs - Pirates game which is now tied 6 to 6 in the 6th. Spooky!
Have fun... I promise I'll have a legitimate entry up here soon.
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
I love Heat Bell so much. When Dex from Gaslamp Ball gave him a retired numbers shirt to pose with, he said "You oughta figure out a way to photoshop the 6 out", emphasizing his earlier point that "That guy's a Dodger." I've been saying that for years, Heater... Incidentally, I have no Heath Bell cards; this needs to change.
Monday, May 10, 2010
36. He won five Gold Glove awards, every year from 1986 through '91 except for '88.
37. He won seven Silver Slugger awards, in 1984, '86, '87, '89, '94, '95 and '97.
38. A lot of people forget that Gwynn was a legitimate base stealer in his younger days, with a high of 56 in 1987.
39. Tony exceeded 100 RBI once, with 119 in 1997, when he also marked a career high with 17 home runs. He would hit only one less homer the next season but totaled 50 less RBI for that year's National League Champions.
40. Gwynn had one home run and 17 RBI in each of his last two seasons.
41. His 203 intentional walks are the 12th highest total in Major League history (I almost used the word 'annals' there but thought it might sound too pretentious. Don't judge me, people; I'm just trying to mix it up a little!)
42. In addition to former Padres teammate Chris, Tony has another brother, Charles, who played baseball at Cal State LA.
43. Tony's record as head coach (why don't they call the managers in college?) of his SDSU Aztecs is one game over .500 at 242-241.
44. Major Leaguers coached by Gwynn include his son Anthony and current Friar Alex Hinshaw. Others are Stephen Strasburg, Addison Reed, Justin Masterson and Bruce Billings.
45. Tony has missed his Aztecs' last seven games due to blood clots in his leg. He is set to return to duty on Tuesday.
46. His longest hitting streak was 25 games, in 1983.
47. He was given number 19 by the Padres' then-clubhouse manager Whitey Wietelman. Whitey wore 19 as a member of the Pacific Coast League Padres back in the day.
48. Tony was not a fan of the brown. When the Padres switched to blue, Gwynn told Sports Illustrated "I always HATED the brown."
49. He was initially disappointed that the Padres selected him. “That damn brown and gold,” said Gwynn. “I remember the first words out of my mouth were ‘Aw, no. The Padres.'"
50. In the mid-to-late 80s, Tony and his teammate John Kruk would ride bicycles to the park and stop for fish tacos. I swear I'm not making this up. They also enjoyed taking turns hitting BP and eating fried chicken.
51. Tony and his wife founded the Tony and Alicia Gwynn Foundation in 1995 to assist underprivileged children meet their potential.
52. Tony Gwynn says, "Nobody beats El Cajon Ford!"
Sunday, May 9, 2010
Happy birthday, Mr. Padre; here's to fifty more great years!
Secondly, whenever I see the word "Boss", one thing comes to mind. Well, one person, really. I never understand why people laugh or think I'm trying to be "ironic" like some stupid hipster when I wear a Bruce Springsteen shirt. It's hard to believe that some people have no idea how unbelievably great he is. Too bad for them.
I've always loved the little exchange at the end of the "Glory Days" video:
8. When he was inducted, his daughter Anisha sang the national anthems of Canada and the U.S. for the ceremony.
9. A number of Gwynn artifacts were on display in the HOF prior to his induction, including the shoes, helmet and pants he wore when he collected his 3000th hit.
10. As Tony was giving his HOF speech, his Padres scored 11 runs in the first inning against the Astros.
11. In a nice bit of symmetry, the player who entered the Hall along with Tony, Cal Ripken, Jr., also spent the same 20 years with one team.
12. Gwynn's top-9 BR comps are also Hall of Famers.
13. Tony appeared on 532 of 545 ballots. This 97.6% is the 7th highest percentage total ever.
14. Tony's statue at Petco Park was unveiled eight days before his induction as part of a countdown celebration by the team.
I'm not gonna bother typing out what Olbermann said because it was boring and, besides, I don't really care for him.
1. Tony is one of only four National Leaguers ever to spend an entire 20 year career with one team.
2. A Gold Glove RF in the majors, Gwynn played LF and DH in college.
3. As a PG for the SDSU basketball team, Gwynn set and still holds the team records for assists both in a season and over a career.
4. Tony's 11 All Star Game starts are the most by a NL outfielder.
5. He hit better than .300 against every NL team.
6. Tony doubled for his first ML hit. 24 years later to the day, his son Tony also doubled for his first hit.
Stay tuned, everybody! 46 more to go!
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
Backed by a solid glove and a smooth swing, Joyner would go on to hit .291, rack up 480 hits & walk (229) more than he struck out (220) during his career in San Diego. A former All-Star & Rookie of the Year runner up with the California Angels, he never showed to much power, but was a team leader in the clubhouse and knew his role.
As quickly as he swooped into our hearts he swooped out. Exactly 4 years and 1 day after he arrived in San Diego he left. His buddy KT traded him and outfielder Reggie Sanders to the Atlanta Braves for second baseman Bret Boone and first baseman Ryan Klesko ending the Wally World era in San Diego.....or did it?
In August of 2007 the revolving door of Padres hitting coaches reached out and drug in Wally Joyner. Right away the Padres bats lit up. Before Joyner took over, the team was hitting .242 for the season. After he took over, they raised the team average 23 points to a solid .265. Not much happened at the end of that season though so we can skip to the following season where the team struggled for most of the year. In September of 2008 Joyner resigned as the teams hitting coach citing major differences in philosophy with the Padres front office.
I'd like to thank TTG for asking me to bring the joy of Wally World upon the world once again.
Monday, May 3, 2010
This upcoming Sunday is Tony The Gwynn's fiftieth birthday. I kicked through a few variations of the same idea before I settled on one I found fitting. First I thought to post one Tony card every hour. While nice sentiment, the number twenty four seemed very out of place. Next I thought that I should post fifty, one for every year, but that's one every half hour plus two more and, quite frankly, no. Obviously, this stupid little nerdblog is just here for my enjoyment and I can see the fun getting sucked out of that by about the twentieth one. Hey, twenty's too many? Well, nineteen shouldn't be too bad. Shouldn't be too bad?!?! Nineteen's perfect! So, there you have it, nineteen. It should prove to be challenging without crossing over to drudgery- at least I'm hoping.
Today's Third Gwynn is a '92 Topps #604 of Tony's brother and Anthony's uncle Chris, pictured back when he was a filthy effin' Dodger. It is my personal policy to never promote or endorse any sort of low-down Dodgerdom on this blog and since I don't have any cards of him as a Padre, I was pleased to find one of him shoulders-up and hatless that required only the most minimal of MS Paint correction...