Recently, when I was making list of my "All Time Favorite Padres" team, I realized that I have a hard time thinking of my favorite all time second baseman. Although it's hard to look for stars once you get past names like Gwynn and Hoffman, there are still plenty of guys I like at most other positions. The hardest one to find a fit for is second base.
On the list that I made, I ended up slotting Archi Cianfrocco as my second baseman. He is one of my all time favorites, and even though he was more of a corner infielder, he did spend over 100 MLB innings at second.
Still, I think it's kinda cheating. I mean, sure, a lot of Archi cards say "IF" (infielder) on his baseball cards, but they never designated him as a second baseman.
I decided I needed to dig through my binders to see what I was missing. Here are most of the cards (well, one of each player), who has 2nd base listed as his position on their card (either front or back), or is readily known as a second baseman (in case the only cards I have of them are the kind that don't have positions listed on them).
These are all in alphabetical order, and Roberto Alomar is *spoiler alert* the only one shown here that is in the Hall of Fame. This is a Padres/Carl's Jr. collaboration card, and this is my overall favorite Alomar card. Next to him is Jose Arcia, who is an original Padre, the 9th overall pick in the '68 Inaugural Draft (taken from the Cubs).
Here's a pair of second basemen who aren't wearing Padres uniforms. Josh Barfield, son of Jesse Barfield, is shown on this Bowman card in a Team USA uniform from the Futures Game. He didn't last long with the Padres, spending just the 2006 season with the club before being traded to the Indians for one of my all time favorite Padres, Kevin Kouzmanoff. I don't know too much about Glenn Beckert, but this might not even technically be a Padres card, since Beckert's wearing a Cubs uniform and the card says "Washington Nat'l Lea." instead of San Diego Padres.
Geoff Blum is a favorite player of mine, but it has more to do with his time on the 2005 World Series Champion Chicago White Sox team. I spent a few years on the south side of Chicago as a missionary for my church, and became quite a fan of that particular team. Even though this Juan Bonilla card is from '84 Topps, Bonilla's last year with the Padres was in '83, so he just missed out on being on one of the best Padres teams of all time (the '84 World Series team). Sorry Juan.
Dave Campbell not only has a 2B card in my favorite Topps set of all time, but he later became a play by play guy for the Padres, and (if the story is to be believed), punched the traveling secretary of the Montreal Expos for yelling insults at then-manager Jerry Coleman, a friend of Campbell who he had worked with in the radio booth. Even though it says "INF" on Joey Cora's '91 Fleer card (easily my favorite Fleer set of all time), Cora was most definitely a second baseman, and I had to include him in this post, since he's the favorite player of my friend Joe.
Dave Eckstein could be a real contender for my favorite second baseman, because who doesn't love the human embodiment of grit? I wasn't following the Padres too much when Eck was with the Padres, but he's still a good one.
Man, this is a great pair of cards. Yes Paul Faries' card says "IF", but he's also designated as a 2B on other cards. For a guy who is such a small blip on the radar of Padres history, I really love this card, as evidenced by my ranking it #5 on the top 50 Padres cards of the 90's. This Tim Flannery card is more widely recognized outside of this blog, due to the… well, you know. Flannery had a pretty good run as a Padre, and became a coach under manager Bruce Bochy. But since following Boch to San Francisco, has become (understandably) critical of the Padres organization and more than a little bitter.
Logan Forsythe was always injured for the Padres, and then as soon as they trade him to the Rays, he has a 5 WAR season. Go figure. I wasn't alive for Tito Fuentes' tenure with the Padres, but judging him by his cards, it seems like I missed out.
I guess I was a kid that was paying attention during the Jeff Gardner era of Padres baseball, but I was more focused on his teammates. More specifically, the player out of focus on this card. Man, this is a cool picture for a baseball card. Collector's Choice was my jam as a kid.
Man, I completely forgot about Ed Giovanola! He was the Archi Cianfrocco of the Padres after they let Archi go. Great, hard to pronounce name off the bench. I was always so excited when he got into the game, much more so than I should've been for a guy who batted .216 with 1 home run as a Padre. I was really excited about Jedd Gyorko when he first came up, and he seemed to have a bright future, as evidence by the rookie cup on this card, but he couldn't seem to put it together, and after a brutal first half of last year, when he was even sent down to the minors, he was traded to the Cardinals for Jon Jay. Goodbye, Jedd.
I've heard only good things from fans of teams who have had Orlando Hudson on their team. Things… did not go as well for him in San Diego, and is probably one of the most disliked Padres in the past decade. I am a legit Tadahito Iguchi fan, but, like Geoff Blum, it's due more to his time on the 2005 World Series Champion Chicago White Sox.
Most people would call the card on the left a Phil Nevin card, but for me, this is a Damien Jackson card. Another great cameo here, from a player who is now known best (well, to me at least) as being the only former teammate to speak at Tony Gwynn's public memorial at Petco Park. It was great, and I will probably always love Damien Jackson for that. Mark Loretta is the card on the right (in case you couldn't tell by the fancy foil), and he easily had the best season by a Padres second baseman in team history in 2004, when he became an All-Star for the first time and placed 9th in NL MVP voting. If not for Tony Gwynn, he would be the all time leader for the Padres in single season hits, batting average, and doubles. If I was picking a team that I actually wanted to win, I'd probably have to go with Loretta.
Jody Reed will always hold a special place in my heart, because as a kid, I got free tickets to a Padres game for calling into the sports talk show. I wanted to get free tickets, but I couldn't think of anything to ask/talk about, so I decided to go with (drumroll please) asking about Jody Reed's chances of winning a Gold Glove. I can't remember what year it was, but I'm not sure that he was a real threat to Craig Biggo, who won it both years that Reed was on the Padres ('95 and '96). For what it's worth, Jody's field percentage those years were .994 and .987, and Biggio's were .986 and .988, so maybe I wasn't totally crazy. If I had to choose an all time fan favorite, it'd have to be Leon "Bip" Roberts. This will probably be my favorite autographed card of all time, simply because it just says "The Bipper". Bip rules.
Cory Spangenberg is injured right now, but is the current Padres second baseman. I like him. My brother and I got his autograph at Spring Training a few years ago, when he was still in the minors. I like how he plays, but I'd still need him to be healthy for a while before he secured a spot on my All Time Favorite Padres team. Kurt Stillwell is cool, especially on this '92 Pinnacle card, but doesn't quite make the short list.
Tim Teufel spent some time in my hometown of Poway after his playing days, but before he became a coach for the Mets. Lots of people said he was a great guy, which is always nice to hear. I don't know a single thing about Derrel Thomas, but man, this is a sweet looking card. I love '73 Topps.
Anyways, I don't think that I'm any closer to deciding which player I'd go with in my Favorite Padres of All Time team, but it was fun to dig through and see which second basemen the Padres have employed throughout the years. I feel like second base is kind of an underrated position.
Oh, it also reminded me that I need to keep digging and find cards for Marcus Giles and Quilvio Veras, because those are also second basemen that need to be included in the Miscellaneous Padres binder.