Saturday, June 8, 2013
June 5- San Diego Padres
Tonight I have given myself an inadvertent challenge all because my friend Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes) suggested that I write about the San Diego Padres tonight. The way this whole decision came about had to do with a lack of historical events in Major League Baseball history occurring on June 4th and June 5th. I’ve touched on this in prior posts, but I always do my best to stay up to date with “this day in baseball” Web sites in order to find truly interesting or forgotten stories of MLB’s past. Having found nothing of real note I decided to take my campaign to Twitter and ask for suggestions from my followers as to which team to write about next. Mapes gave me two teams: the Padres and the Kansas City Royals. My biggest issue with the Royals is that, outside of their Stars and Stripes and batting practice caps, they’ve only had four caps they’ve worn on the field throughout their history. Somehow I’ve managed to burn through three (February 4th, February 24th and March 26th) of the four all ready and we’re not even close to the All-Star break yet. Hell, I wrote about all three of those before the season even started. WHYYYYYYY!?!? So, rather than finish one team off for the rest of the year, I opted to go with the Padres.
Like the Royals, I’ve managed to write about three of the team’s caps thus far (February 1st, March 10th and April12th). Unlike the Royals, the Padres actually have quite the assortment of hats in their catalog, which is quite impressive considering the fact that they’ve only been around in the Majors since 1969. What I am still trying to track down; however, is their 1936 cap from their old Pacific Coast League days when Boston Red Sox great Ted Williams played for the team. This particular cap, as I said above, gave me a bit of a headache when trying to pinpoint an exact year in which it was first used. Because I’m a huge sucker for details, I always make sure to consult two specific Web sites before writing down any of the dates in stone on any of the caps I write about, because after all, some one may be doing the same research I’ve been conducting and the last thing I want to do is give someone shoddy information. The two sites I use are Sportslogos.net and BaseballHallOfFame.org. Oddly enough, they gave contradictory information about this cap, a huge problem I’ve been dealing with since I started on this mission. According to the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Web site the Padres didn’t start using this cap until 2004 in which they have been using it as their home come through the present. According to Sportslogos.net this cap was first used in 1998 and then went through a slight color variation from 1999-2003 until becoming the cap the Padres where during all of their home games. So, for those of you playing at home, the cap is definitely the home cap and it for sure has been used since 2004 through the present. But what about the previous six years? This is where things get a pit tricky and I had to put on my detective cap to verify a few details.
The 1998 part is the most confusing of all because I remember vividly watching the Padres playing in and losing the World Series to the New York Yankees wear this cap...
the white and orange interlocking “SD” logo. I don’t really recall the white “SD” at all. Oh, and side note, the way Steve Finley looks in this card is ridiculously amazing. Even when combing through pages and pages of photos from ’98 I still couldn’t find anyone wearing it with the exception of former pitch Brian Boehringer who played with the Padres from 1998 until 2000.
My only beef with this card is that I came cross it when I looked under “1999 San Diego Padres cards.” So, 1998 still remains a mystery. The only thing I can come up with is that the Padres wore the caps and a specific uniform set during Spring Training; however, no matter which Web site I use there is nothing to provide this detail.
Moving on to 1999; yes, this cap was definitely used then as the Boehringer card obviously proves. The other note from 1999 is that it was the first year New Era started making specific batting practice caps, which happened to feature the white “SD,” which the Padres used until the end of the 2003 season where they replaced the “SD” for the white slanted “P” logo and changed the cap from a mesh 59/50 into the low profile 39/30. Upon my research I was able to find photographic evidence to prove that the cap was used on the field for home games from 2000-2003, one of which being the final game of the 2001 season which was a truly historic day as Tony Gwynn played his final home game of his career AND Rickey Henderson recorded his 3,000th career hit with a double off of Colorado Rockies pitch John Thomson.
Alas, the mystery has been solved, well, except for 1998, which I leave to any of you who read this post to try finding evidence so I can add it to the story and give you full credit for. That is, unless I find it first.
In retrospect of my research I probably should have waited until the end of the season to write about this cap in regard to the final day of the 2001 season. I mean, Gwynn retiring and Rickey getting #3000 are two pretty extraordinary events in MLB history. Not to mention the fact that during that season Rickey also broke Babe Ruth’s all-time walks record (2062*), Ty Cobb’s runs scored record (2246*) and Zack Wheat’s all-time record of games started in left field (2328*). However, I marked this cap up with a few guys who are still currently wearing this cap as I actually wrote the numbers I have back in March of 2012 while I was in the MLB Fan Cave. No worries though. I’m happy with the choices I made, but more important, now all of those facts I just listed will be more in the open, and that’s what’s most important.
*numbers listed indicate previous records.
#24- One of the few guys from the Padres organization I had the fortune of meeting in the Fan Cave, Cameron Maybin was the 10th overall pick in the 2005 amateur draft by the Detroit Tigers out of high school in North Carolina. Maybin played in 24 games with the Tigers in 2007, but was traded to the Florida Marlins during the offseason as part of a blockbuster trade in which the Marlins sent Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera to Detroit. Maybin played in 144 games for the Marlins from 2008 until the end of the 2010 season in which he hit .257/12/43 during his days playing at Joe Robbie Stadium, or whatever the hell it’s called.
AT the end of the 2010 season Maybin was traded once again, this time to the Padres for Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica. The benefit of Maybin going to the Padres was that he quickly became and every day guy. Maybin played in 137 games, batting .264 with nine home runs and 40 RBI. Maybin also stole 40 bases that season, becoming the ninth player in Padres history to do so. In 2012 Maybin had a little bit of a drop in his numbers, but he was still one of the best offensive producers on the team hitting .243 with eight home runs and 45 RBI, as well as 26 stolen bases.
When Maybin came to the Fan Cave last season he was all smiles. He and I talked about surfing a bit as I have still yet to surf at any beach south of Huntington Beach… which really isn’t that far from San Diego. Maybin didn’t come alone though, Yonder Alonso and current Oakland Athletic Andy Parrino dropped by as well. One of the more interesting moments came when MLB.com writer Mark Newman pulled me aside and asked me if I knew of anything of note off the top of my head about Maybin. Naturally I brought up the 40 stolen bases in 2011; something I thought was really weird of him not to research before he came in. Then again, most people sought my knowledge more times than you can imagine as opposed to looking it up themselves during my time there. During Newman’s interview with Maybin I made sure to pop “the shark” and photobomb him; however, those bits were edited out. But, the video still lives on, and if you look quick enough you can see the tail end of me teaching all three guys how to do it. Also, the link for the Eric Byrnes shark is right next to it.
#7- Another member of the 2005 amateur draft class, Chase Headley was selected by the Padres in the second round out of the University of Tennessee, but after transferring from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California. Headley made his MLB debut on June 15, 2007 but only played for eight games as a fill-in for Kevin Kouzmanoff. Headley played for the Eugene Emeralds the year he was drafted, two years before I moved there. Rats!
In 2008, after playing batting .305 and playing in 65 games with the AAA Portland Beavers, Headley was brought back up to the Majors where he has been ever since, with the exception of a four-game rehab stint with the Lake Elsinore Storm this season. From 2008-2011 Headley put up decent numbers, but nothing extraordinary. His average hung around .271 those three seasons and he only hit 27 home runs and 166 RBI. Headley proved he had the potential throughout his Minor League days; however, something just wasn’t clicking for him in the Majors. But, if there’s one things hitters do, it’s stay patient and keep swinging away… which Headley did very well in 2012.
Something clicked around the All-Star break. At the end of the day on July 8th Headley was batting .267 with eight home runs and 42 RBI. For the rest of the season (75 games) Headley would boost his batting average to .286, but crank out 23 more home runs and 73 RBI, the most productive of any player in the National League during that stretch besides San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey. Headley’s surge would land him in fifth place for the NL MVP award as well as give him his first Silver Slugger award. Headley also played stellar defense last year as well, winning his first Gold Glove at third base.