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Well, maybe not fun, exactly. An afternoon at the ball park is fun, but since it’s Feb. 21, we have to make do.
Peruse the Padres team page of Baseball-Reference.com long enough and you’re bound to learn something. Like say, Tony Gwynn heads the team’s list in 23 career offensive categories. 23. Gwynn and Garry Templeton stand one-two in seven distinct categories, including games, at bats, plate appearances, hits, doubles, singles and intentional walks. We may tend to forget Templeton’s status in club history.
Here’s a fun fact. Did you know that besides Tony Gwynn, the following Padres have a career batting average above .300? Oops, sorry. Gwynn’s the only one. Fine, but did you know that Bip Roberts is second in team batting, with a .298 lifetime mark? Gene Richards stands fourth, at .291, and Johnny Grubb sixth, at .286.
Dave Roberts, the pitcher, holds the single season record for ERA, with his 2.10 in 1971. Randy Jones, as you might expect, is next with his 2.25 in 1974 (not the Cy Young year), followed by Jake Peavy, 2.27 in 2004, and Kevin Brown, 2.38 in 1998. Trevor Hoffman is the career ERA leader, at 2.69.
Hoffman leads in career saves (duh) with his major league record 480. Rollie Fingers is second at 108.
Randy Jones leads the team in nine single season and nine career pitching categories, but not the same nine.
The Friars have had seven general managers; in this order: Buzzie Bavasi, Peter Bavasi, Bob Fontaine, Jack McKeon, Joe McIlvaine, Randy Smith and Kevin Towers.
San Diego won its first game on Opening Day, April 8, 1969, beating the Houston Astros 2-1, at Jack Murphy Stadium. Ed Spezio hit the first home run in team history, and Dick Selma tossed a complete game five-hitter, finishing with a ninth inning flourish, retiring Curt Blefary on a ground out to first, unassisted, and striking out Bob Watson and Dennis Menke.
The Pads’ roots are older than you might think as well. The Salt Lake Bees, which served as a Pioneer League affiliate for the Padres in 1969, started as a non-affiliated Pacific Coast League squad way back in 1915.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go get a life.
Remember, glove conquers all.
— HOWARD COLE