My San Diego Padres are far from what you would call a "storied" franchise. When it comes to history, there's not a whole lot that would be considered noteworthy, at least to fans of the other 29 teams. They were originally in the Pacific Coast League, and began in a few other locations (Sacramento, Tacoma, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, and Los Angeles) before moving to San Diego and becoming the Padres in 1936.
Ted Williams was one of those PCL Padres, they played at Lane Field, and won four league titles. In 1969, they joined the National League, after choosing Ollie Brown 1st overall in the Expansion Draft. They've changed uniforms over a dozen times, drafted a few Hall Of Famers, and won a few NL pennants. At the end of last year, they had the 2nd lowest all time winning percentage of current teams, a mere two percentage points above the Tampa Bay Rays. With their dismal start to the season, it wouldn't surprise me if they were surpassed by Tampa Bay this year (if they haven't been already).
Why am I mentioning all of this? Because the Padres are expanding their oft-neglected team Hall of Fame, trying to better get in touch with their team history.
Already elected are:
Nate Colbert, Randy Jones, Ray Kroc (class of 1999)
Dave Winfield (class of 2000)
Jerry Coleman, Buzzie Bavasi (class of 2001)
Tony Gwynn (2002)
Dick Williams (2009)
I don't care how unimpressive a team is, but only having EIGHT members of a team Hall of Fame seems pretty weak, especially since only half of them were players. I hope that in the future, there are more and more players (and other personnel, I guess) elected.
Here are the two latest inductees:
Benito Santiago spent more time away from San Diego (13 seasons) than he did as a Padre (7 seasons), but they included the franchise's second Rookie of the Year award winner, a MLB record setting hitting streak for a rookies and catchers (34 games), and more than a few highlight reels of runners being thrown out from his knees. To a non-Padres fan, Garry Templeton is just known as the guy traded from St. Louis for future-Cooperstown inductee Ozzie Smith. For Padres fans, he's a main cog in the 1984 NL Pennant winning team, and owner of 2nd place (behind Tony Gwynn) in a lot of franchise offensive categories (games, at bats, hits, doubles). Both are very worthy candidates in my eyes, and I'm stoked they're getting their due.
I also love the giveaways that are planned for the day that they are inducted. I'm a sucker for replica jerseys, even if the quality of most stadium giveaway wearables is a little questionable., and they're brown pinstripes, so I love that.
I'll do another post on my favorite Tempy cards later, but I was already planning a post of my top 5 favorite Benito cards, so when I saw the announcement, I knew it was time to put the post together.
#5 - 1987 Topps Traded #109T
I'm definitely not a fan of '87 Topps, but it's "Benny's" rookie card, and to me, it's his "true" rookie card (though I'd have to check w/Gavin to verify). Is there a name for this type of mustache? "Two Caterpillars Crawling Towards Each Other" is probably too long of a name, but it's the best I can do. Also, the cross chain seems appropriate for a guy who plays on a team named after Catholic Friars.
#4 - 1992 Pinnacle "Shades" #601
'92 Pinnacle is my all time favorite set. I dunno if you'd consider this an "insert", since it still has a number like the rest of the base set, but the design is obviously different from the base cards. These were pretty much as cool as it got as a kid, and as a frequent wearer of sunglasses, I still think these are cool. Does it matter that Benito is apparently looking at himself about to tag someone out at home plate? Not at all.
#3 - 1992 Pinnacle "TECH" #615
Okay, Benito had three cards in the '92 Pinnacle set, but this is the last one for the countdown. Like I said previously, '92 Pinnacle rules. On any given day, the two Pinnacle cards might flip flop in the order, but I really dig how TECH cards looked really blueprinty. It would probably be number 1 if it was showing him throw from his knees.
#2 - 1991 Topps #760
I'm pretty sure that the overwhelming majority of baseball card enthusiasts would place this one at the very top of the heap, and for good reason. '91 Topps is known by many for it's great photography, and this is one of it's iconic photos (though I'm partial to the Carlton Fisk card, myself). Still, I'm not the biggest fan of the set, so though the photography is stellar, it's falls just short of the top spot.
#1 - 1991 Score "Dream Team" #893
I liked this card enough to award it the number 3 spot in my Top 50 Padre cards of the 90's countdown in 2013. While I might move a few things around if I was to do it again, I can't really see this falling that far, if at all. Here's what I wrote about it then:
I know it's a studio shot, but seeing Benito's deadpan stare while he's tossing the ball up in the air, as if he's daring the guy on first to just think about stealing? It does not get much better than this. When I started drafting the countdown, this was my early #1 pick, and it's hard to drop it down to #3.
So, although it was denied the top spot in the 90's countdown, it claims the title here.
Anyways, congrats to Benito and Tempy for entering the Padres Hall of Fame, and more importantly, congrats to the Padres for actually using their Hall of Fame. I have no problem expanding the field of entrants to even lesser known players (it's not like Nate Colbert or Garry Templeton are well known in other corners of the league). What's important is any and all Padres who have made positive contributions to the team. I'd be fine with seeing them honor guys like Kevin Brown, Sterling Hitchcock, or Greg Vaughn (big pieces of the '98 NL Pennant team), Steve Garvey ('84 NL pennant team, who's number is already retired), and I'm sure that Trevor Hoffman will be in eventually. Longtime radio guy Ted Leitner is a no brainer as well.
Look forward to whatever else the Padres have planned in advance of next year's All Star game. They'll be unveiling the ASG logo at the end of the week, which will most likely be a preview of any logo re-design that they might have planned. Here's hoping they're bringing back the brown.