A recent post by a blogger who met Hideo Nomo made me think of a few pictures that I've been able to take with some Padre greats.
I don't know if they do this anymore, but in the 90s, they would occasionally have one day a season where you could go to the game early and go onto the field and take pictures with the team. I've heard of minor league teams that do this still, but I'm not sure if it's still practiced in the majors. Anyways, as a kid, this seemed almost too good to be true.
I wish I remembered more details of the day. It was early in the season of 1997. The year before, the Padres had stolen my heart and won the NL West by sweeping the Dodgers in the final game of the season, so I had gone from "big fan" to "diehard". At the time, the Padres were playing in Jack Murphy Stadium (now Qualcomm Stadium, home of the Chargers and Aztecs). I remember that we walked down onto the field from the outfield tunnel, and there were players lined up all along the edge of the warning track. A short, orange fence separated the players from the fans. It was pretty packed, and being the height that I was as an eleven year old, I usually couldn't see the players past the push of picture takers, so my dad was in charge of finding the players that me and my two brothers would want pictures with.
This was (obviously) in the days before digital cameras, so you had to actually wait to get the film developed to see what your photos looked like. I remember that not all of them turned out great, but the subject matter makes up for any problems with photography. Since I don't have a scanner, these are pictures of pictures, so theres a little bit of a glare from the lights in these. Anyways, enough blabber.
Trevor Time! I'm guessing that there was a possibility of rain, based on the number of long sleeves in this picture. Or it might've been a rare day in San Diego when the temperature dropped below 70 degrees. Anyways, Hoffy is awesome.
Oh, I guess I should say who's who. I'm the tallest kid in these pictures. The kid in the white had is my brother Tyler, who's two years younger than me. Sam is the littlest kid, who is seven years younger than me, and was five at the time. The guy in the pinstripes is a Hall of Famer who leads the universe and in career runs and stolen bases. The "Jackie Robinson 50th Anniversary" patch on Rickey Henderson's sleeve let me know that these were from '97 (at first I thought these might be from 1996).
As you may know, Steve Finley is my favorite player. While I wasn't able to get any pictures of him that day, my Steve Finley impersonation was captured on film. Wasn't quite tall enough to rob a home run yet. Wasn't helped by the fact that I was wearing my dad's sweatshirt, a fashion that, in addition to not actually being fashionable, was big and baggy and not conducive to jumping. Love the palm trees in the background.
One last look at the stadium on the way out. The "Swinging Friar" cap that I was wearing is one of my favorite Padre cap designs, and I'm glad to see that the Tucson Padres are using that as their primary logo. My brother Sam is still pretty goofy as a 20 year old, and he's a few inches taller than me. I think Tyler's trying to act tough to make up for the fact that he's carrying a pink umbrella.
Why is there a Tim Worrell card at the top of this post, you ask? Well, as we were about to leave and the crowd was thinning out, I was trying to wrangle one last picture with a Padre. Tim Worrell happened to be closest, and was super nice. For some reason, taking the picture with him was the thing that I remember most, but that's the one that didn't show up on the roll. Stupid non-digital camera.
My family made the move yesterday to a new rental house across town, and looking through pictures as we were packing up reminded me that I had saved these on my laptop for a future post. I guess today was the day I've been waiting for. I should probably be unpacking stuff, but thought I'd take a walk down memory lane while my wife and daughter are taking a nap. The wood floors here are creaky, so sitting on the couch with a laptop and being quiet is probably the most considerate thing to do, right?