Jack Murphy Stadium (San Diego)

This article was written by Curt Smith


“People don’t know how good the Pacific Coast League is,” a onetime miner named H.V. “Hardrock Bill” Lane said in 1935. “There’s Oakland, or San Francisco.”1 A year later he moved the then-Double-A Hollywood Stars to San Diego, renamed them Padres for a nearby mission, opened single-tier 9,100-seat Lane Field, and began to fill a baseball chapel. Early priests included Bobby Doerr, Vince DiMaggio — and native Ted Williams, already worshiped at nearby Herbert Hoover High School. In 1938, The Kid, 18, leapt to Triple-A Minneapolis, batting .366. Later the Pads boasted Minnie Minoso, Al Rosen, and Luke Easter, who hit the center-field scoreboard, more than 500 feet from the plate. By 1949, San Diego drew a record 493,780, fully 222,844 more than the American League St. Louis Browns. Without wishing to be sacrilegious, when the term higher power was bandied about, it was often unclear who was meant.

In 1957 C. Arnholt Smith bought the franchise for nearly $350,000. Shiver me timbers: Termites were eating wooden Lane Field. Smith soon built 8,200-seat Westgate Park, whose gate opened to minor-league profit but without, as San Diego wanted, a major-league team. Place that against the backdrop of baseball’s top late-’50s tale. In late 1957, the Dodgers of Brooklyn since 1890 suddenly and stunningly decamped for Los Angeles, “mak[ing] the greatest impact on Southern California’s millions since the 1933 earthquake left them shimmying and shaking,” Frank Finch wrote.2 Signs scripted “Ball Game Today: Win Dodgers.” Storefront windows sold team jackets and $300 suits. A welcoming parade jammed 300,000 downtown. Team owner Walter O’Malley then told a civic luncheon, “I hope the next time you will be asked to stand up will be for Duke Snider’s first home run in Los Angeles.”3

Brooklyn had drawn 1,028,258 in 1957. The 1958 Dodgers lured 1,845,556 to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, two years later adding a sublime 2,253,887. Then more than now, the City of the Angels intimidated San Diego, its 1960 US Census populace more than four times larger. As counter, many increasingly hyped a new park to give LA’s neighbor to the south its own big-league leg-up, most effectively San Diego Union sports editor and columnist Jack Murphy, brother Bob Murphy a New York Mets announcer. In 1965 its City Council OK’d a multisport “facility” with a baseball bent. A referendum backed the $27.5 million site in Mission Valley, the San Diego River coursing through the plot. Engineers diverted it, then moved 2.5 million cubic yards of dirt. San Diego Stadium flaunted 1,715 huge pieces of precast concrete in 2,345 shapes, some weighing 39 tons.

Its address hinted absolution: 9449 Friars Road.

At the time, the Southland was mostly small town and suburban, middle-class, and white: Grapes of Wrath émigrés from the Dust Bowl and beyond. It mimed the late-’60s national pastime, drawing largely from the ordered and traditional. “Partly because it was small,” read The Ballparks, built decidedly more for baseball than football, “and partly because of its rather odd shape,” the stadium resembled “a box with only three sides.”4 Five tiers circled home plate to the left- and right-field corner, moored by each bullpen. Four levels half-enclosed the park from left to center field. In right field, a bleacher section fronted a large scoreboard on pillars, hillside seen beyond. You entered below ground level, passed through tunnel-type gates, and walked through one of six concrete coil-shaped towers to each level and any of then-47,634 multicolor seats: 6,394 lower box, 8,183 reserved, 1,918 press-level box, 11,224 upper box, and 19,915 general admission.5

The stadium opened August 20, 1967, evincing professional football’s recent merger: Detroit Lions 38, hometown Chargers, 17. A February 1968 open house hailed a different sport: 15,000 — ogled Santa Ana Bermuda grass, a 17-foot concrete outfield wall, and uniform lengths — each foul line, 330 feet; alleys, 375, and center field, 420. On April 5, the Giants and Indians played a Cactus League exhibition game in the then-Triple-A PCL Padres’ home. In May San Diego and Montreal both received a National League expansion team, that year’s Friars leading the minors in attendance. How would the big-league team do? “I said, ‘We’ll walk, then we’ll run,’” Emil J. “Buzzie” Bavasi, Dodgers general manager turned new Pads president, recalled a decade later.6 It was assumed they would draw. On November 2, 1967, financier C. Arnholt Smith, later named the team’s first owner, wrote a letter to O’Malley, head of the NL expansion committee, enclosing a brochure touting San Diego’s “population, the means, and the desire to support major league baseball,” in what had become America’s “15th-largest city,”7 its population nearly doubling since 1960.

From the start, the Friars tried to flee the Dodgers’ shadow by bettering the Dodgers’ way –pitching, defense, and speed; accent the fundamentals; never beat yourself. Their front office bulged with ex-Los Angeles personnel — Bavasi, as head; son Peter Bavasi, farm-system director; coach Preston Gomez, manager. Missing was Dodgers cash, Smith emptying his vault on the NL $10 million expansion franchise fee. By the mid-1970s, after a change in ownership, McNamara’s Band, named for skipper John McNamara, would rove through the stands playing songs like “Happy Days Are Here Again” and “California, Here I Come.”8 In the late 1960s and early ’70s, the group might have played a dirge: “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” The question was rhetorical.

“In the [October 14, 1968] expansion draft we went for young players, figuring to build the future around them,” Peter Bavasi said, noting Smith’s inability to afford older — thus, marquee –players.9 Some drafted later shaped a fine career. At the time, most brooked near-invisibility. Expansion roster pitchers were Steve Arlin, Mike Corkins, Tom Dukes, Dave Giusti, Rick James, Fred Katawczik, Dick Kelley, Clay Kirby, Al McBean, Billy McCool, Frank Reberger, Dave Roberts, Al Santorini, and Dick Selma. Other players included Jose Arcia, Ollie Brown (first choice), Nate Colbert, Jerry DaVanon, Al Ferrara, Clarence “Cito” Gaston, Tony Gonzalez, Fred Kendall, Jerry Morales, Ivan Murrell, Roberto Pena, Rafael Robles, Ron Slocum, Larry Stahl, Zoilo Versalles, and Jim Williams.10 Given most of their youthful anonymity, the Pads wisely promoted rival personnel.

It didn’t help enough. Neither did geography that let radio’s magical Vin Scully gild baseball for much of Southern California. The Voice of the Dodgers was sportscasting’s Roy Hobbs, “the best there ever was,”11 beamed over their powerful 50,000-watt KFI far-flung network toward, among other places, San Diego. The Padres were the sole NL team near enough to Los Angeles to be daily reminded of Scully’s art. In 1969-71, Frank Sims, Jerry Gross, and Duke Snider did Pads WOGO wireless and Channel 10 TV. To visit, you drove between two steep Mission Valley ridges, near Tijuana, golf courses, and endless miles of beach, desert, and mountain range, to about eight miles from the Pacific, near Interstates 15 and 8. Inside the Padres’ abbey, checkerboard-cut grass replaced dirt on each side of both lines. Corner pens bisected them — the only park in which a foul could be caught out of sight of umpires and players. The setting was lovely — save empty seats.

The Padres opened at home on April 8, 1969, edging Houston, 2-1, before just 23,370, their lineup Robles, shortstop; Pena, second base; Gonzalez, center field; Brown, right field; Bill Davis, first base; Stahl, left field; Ed Spiezio, third base; Chris Cannizzaro, catcher; and Selma, starting and winning pitcher. First batter/hit: Houston’s Jesus Alou. Homer and RBI: Spiezio.12 “The first game in the National League was like the last game of the World Series for us,” said Kendall, the Pads starting 3-0.13 They should have quit while ahead. On one hand, Joe Niekro hurled their first complete-game shutout, 5-0 — against LA. The other: Kirby lost 20 games on a 52-110 team that drew 512,970 — eight empty seats for each seat filled. Next year the Friars won 11 more as Colbert hit 38 homers and 30th and last expansion pick Gaston added 29. Neither kept San Diego from being no-hit by the Bucs’ Dock Ellis or struck out 19 times by New York’s Tom Seaver. Attendance rose to 643,679 — again 12th in a 12-team league.

The 1971 Padres were the sole NL club not to draw a million. For the first time players from Selma to Niekro were dealt for prospects, “build[ing] our farm system through trades,” said Peter Bavasi. “It was a holding action” — a price paid for hope tomorrow.14 San Diego was last in the West its first six years, four times losing 100 or more games. Amid carnage, consolation rarely made a call. In 1970 San Diego had somehow won the season series, 10 games to 8, from the league titlist Big Red Machine. 1971: Roberts vaunted a 2.10 ERA. 1972: In an August 1 doubleheader at Atlanta, Colbert hit five home runs, had an otherworldly 13 RBIs, scored seven runs, and totaled 22 bases — “the whole team, and even Nate,” said Kendall, “in a daze just watching him do it”15 — tying a twin-bill record for homers and breaking it for ribbies and total bases. Colbert became the first Friar with 100 RBIs, gloom lifting. Inevitably, it returned.

In 1972 Gomez was fired after 11 games, replaced by an infielder of the 1955 titlist Brooklyn Dodgers and 40-120 1962 Mets. Don Zimmer’s team was more Metsian than champion, a 611,826 gate in 1973 not enough to help C. Arnholt Smith thrive or locally sell. As the NL tried to move it, San Diego Mayor Pete Wilson and city attorney John Witt went to court. Said Bavasi Jr.: “If the city had turned its back on the … Padres, the club might very well have been moved.”16 Instead, to make it saleable Smith threw the dice, getting big-time veterans Matty Alou, Glenn Beckert, Willie McCovey, Bobby Tolan, and Dave Tomlin. The public cheered. Green eyeshades recoiled at déjà vu: empty coffers. “We were out of options, and our bank account showed a balance of two thousand dollars,” said Bavasi Sr.17 Later Smith went to prison for $8.4 million in embezzlement and tax fraud. By January 1974, businessman Joseph Danzansky, tentatively buying the team, pledged it to Washington, D.C. The Pads seemed as good as gone — files packed, new uniforms sewn — until a reprieve as good as gold.

For eight years McDonald’s Corporation founder and chairman Ray Kroc had tried to buy his hometown Cubs. Thwarted, he read of the D.C. sale’s snag. An official called Bavasi for a meeting. Midway through lunch, “Mr. Kroc shook hands with Mr. Smith, and the rest is history,” said Buzzie, Ray’s effect as rapid as the quickest fast food. Entering Bavasi’s offices for the first time, Kroc bayed another first: “Give everyone in this room a raise.”18 On Opening Night, Friars, losing, 9-5, he grabbed the public-address mike to snarl, “This is the most stupid ballplaying I’ve ever seen.”19 A day later Ray apologized, most not grasping why. “The reaction,” said a baseball original, 1972-79 and 1981-2012 Pads Voice Jerry Coleman, “was finally a guy who wants to win.20 The ’74ers set every then-franchise attendance peak, including season 1,075,399. Next year Randy Jones became the franchise’s first 20-game victor with a league-best 2.24 ERA and closed a 6-3 All-Star Game. San Diego won a franchise-high 71 games to finish higher than it had ever placed, fourth in its division.

By now, the Padres promoted like McDonald’s — “more than any other baseball club,” Bavasi Sr. said, about 80 percent of playing dates.21 Shakespeare wrote, “Fair and foul.” The Pads’ fairest blessing became baseball’s foulest bird. In 1974 a journalism student at San Diego State heard that KGB FM Radio needed someone to wear a chicken costume. Needing the $2 a day, Ted Giannoulas shortly gave candy Easter eggs to children at the San Diego Zoo. Job over, he executed a neat one-two. He got the team and station OK to wear his henhouse outfit to a game. Soon other clubs were hiring him: “No grand plan,” he said. “It was the laughter from the grandstand that carried me onto the field.” When KGB later fired him, Ted won a patent suit, forced to change costume, but rehatching his career as the Chicken before a sellout: He recalled watching TV as a kid with Mom — “Laurel and Hardy, the Marx Brothers, what I learned … was a simple value: no laughs, no life” — the San Diego Chicken helping to define the Pads.22 Especially for the huge local military battalion, another draw became the afore noted McNamara’s Band led by “The Tuba Man” — US Marine Jim Eakle — eagerly sought between innings, his cult tying the sign man, the flute lady, the drum man, and the tambourine lady.23 “For the first time,” said Coleman, “you could see young adults bringing their dates.”24

In 1976, the public saw Jones lead the National League in innings (315⅓), complete games (25), and victories (22). The Padres lefty tied Christy Mathewson’s 1913 NL mark of 68 straight innings without a walk — broken by Greg Maddux in 2001 — threw three scoreless innings to start and win the All-Star Game, and took the Cy Young Award. Gaylord Perry’s 21-6 in 1978 encored the honor — the first to win each league’s. The 84-78 Pads topped .500 for the only time in their first 10 years, drew a team-high 1,670,107, and hosted the midsummer classic: NL, 7-3. Other league highs included Rollie Fingers’ 35 and 37 saves in 1977-78, respectively — and Dave Winfield’s total bases (333) and RBIs (118) in 1979. On January 6, 1981, the San Diego City Council voted 6 to 2 to rename San Diego-Jack Murphy Stadium — said Kroc, “He beat the drum to get us big-league ball” — for the late San Diego Union sports editor, who died September 24. 1980. Today mascots thrive for one team after another — Mr. Met, the Philly Phanatic. Blessedly, another 1960s through ’80s trend, the truly multipurpose stadium, had a briefer life than the Chicken — or Padres’ longtime official mascot, the post-1968 Swinging Friar.

In 1908, vaudevillian Jack Norworth wrote what still is baseball’s full-throated anthem: “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.” Its first two steel and concrete ballparks, Shibe Park and Forbes Field in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, respectively, opened a year later. By 1923, 14 other parks, most fitting on an urban parcel, rose from the grid of city streets. Like other bad ideas from the 1960s, a different generation of stadia reversed what had worked. Planners sought “super blocks” to flank freeways, abut parking, and spur ease, vainly trying to help baseball’s and football’s oil and water coexist. Each pre-cookie-cutter had a different personality: League Park, Comiskey Park, Briggs (later Tiger) Stadium. By contrast, multipurpose stadiums seemed dismally alike, conformity choking their vast foul turf, bad sightlines, and seating a seeming time zone from the field. Cookie-cutters were dull, duller, dullest. Happily, most today are dead, deader, deadest. How could baseball so lose its way?

Computers and steel design helped concrete better cantilever and build multiple tiers. Loge seats multiplied, hanging beneath a deck. The effect was to recess stands farther from the field. Some baseball parks were fatally compromised even before they opened by attempting the impossible — accommodate the mutually destructive DNA of baseball (triangular) and football (rectangular). As noted, San Diego’s park was built primarily for baseball: small, intimate, and odd. The Giants’ Candlestick Park and Angels’ Anaheim Stadium were built solely for baseball; the A’s Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, mostly football. After opening, each was among parks refitted and rearranged. “The Murph” was sadly “Chargerized” in the 1980s. Three decks rose to enclose left-center field to right-center field. Capacity soared far beyond what its 1960s founders planned. San Diego built an 8½-foot inner fence, alleys dipping to 370 feet, center field to 405, and each line 327 feet from home plate. A 329-foot pole split it from the outer wall, “making it possible,” read The Ballpark Book, “for a line drive to cross the fence in fair territory and hook in front of the pole into foul.”25 The Pads moved the plate five feet toward the backstop, added a black hitting backdrop, and put ivy on the wall. Nothing restored rapport.

For that, the early 1980s Padres again had only to look at a team smashing almost each attendance record, having been first to note the Spanish-speaking market and to broadcast bilingually. By 1980, Hispanics totaled 25 percent of Dodgers attendance. In April 1981 a 20-year-old Mexican rookie made the club. On Opening Day, Fernando Valenzuela blanked Houston. Soon Southern California seemed to signify his name. In time, San Diego seemed bent on making up for lost time outside America’s 50 states. Domestically, its target was the Angelenos. In the 1982-83 offseason, the Dodgers lost Ron Cey to the Cubs and Steve Garvey to San Diego. As a Padre, the latter dislocated a thumb next year in a home-plate collision to end his National League consecutive-games streak at 1,207. LA clinched that September 30 as Dodger Stadium’s Diamond Vision scoreboard showed that San Diego downed Atlanta. Given their Death Valley of the past decade, the Pads were about to discover how the other half lived.

Prior to 1984, the Friars had never even placed third. Casey Stengel might have said of that year’s Padres what he had of the ’69 New York Metropolitans, taking everything after seven years of nothingness: “The team has come along slow but fast.”26 San Diego won the West by 12 games over Atlanta and Houston and 13 over the Dodgers, luring a record 1,983,404. Garvey and Graig Nettles keyed first and third bases, respectively. Goose Gossage ruled the bullpen, saving a 3-1 All-Star Game victory. Bottle-shaped Tony Gwynn climbed his first step toward hitting’s Mount Rushmore by forging 213 hits into a first batting title at .351 — his greatness such that those totals later became too easy to dismiss. Tart and bright, manager Dick Williams became the only skipper other than Bob Skinner (records, 337-311 and 1-0, respectively) to reach .500 among the Padres’ first 11 managers.27 In 1984 America outside of San Diego County seemed to hope that the Friars would fall on their postseason face against the Cubs, unfeeling how the League Championship Series could become the Pads’ recompense for 1969-83. “It’s like we’re in ‘The National League playoffs starring the Chicago Cubs. Also with the San Diego Padres,’” said Gwynn afterward. “Nobody gave us a chance but the [Padres fans]. They believed in us, and we started to believe in us.”28

San Diego lost Game One, 13-0, at Wrigley Field, largely on five Chicago homers, including winning pitcher Rick Sutcliffe’s. Next afternoon Steve Trout bested Mark Thurmond, 4-2. Behind, two sets to zero, the Padres hosted the rest of the then-best-of-five, trailing the third game, 1-0, in the home half of the fifth inning, five frames from extinction. Cubs starter Dennis Eckersley then yielded three singles and Garry Templeton’s double: 3-1, San Diego. Kevin McReynolds’ sixth-inning bomb sealed a 7-1 final. Starter Ed Whitson recorded the Friars’ first postseason W. Gossage, who played from 1972-94, relieved, hailing “the loudest crowd I’ve ever heard.”29 The next day an unpredictable fourth match had an unanswerable conclusion. San Diego tied at three in the fifth inning, fronted, 5-3, two innings later, and was tied as Garvey batted in a one-out ninth. “Hit high to right-center field! Way back! Going! Going! It is gone! The Pads win it!” Coleman cried. “In a game that absolutely defies description, Steve Garvey, in the ninth inning, hit one over the 370 mark, and the Padres beat the Cubs, 7-5. “Oh, doctor, you can hang a star on that baby!”30

The final had a shape few soon forgot. Chicago led, 3-0, behind Sutcliffe, a sublime Cy Young 16-1 in only 20 games. In the sixth inning, its lead had shrunk to 3-2. Then, in lucky 7, the Pads’ Carmelo Martinez walked to lead off, Templeton bunting him to second base. Tim Flannery’s grounder passed under first baseman Leon Durham’s glove for an error, scoring Martinez with a 3-all run. After Alan Wiggins singled, he and Flannery scored on Gwynn’s double: 5-3. Series MVP Garvey slapped a run-scoring single before Gossage mopped up the Cubs, 6-3, who outscored San Diego, 26-22, but made three muffs, one lethal, to the Friars’ one. “As for Cubs fans everywhere,” read Sports Illustrated, twitting the home-run call of “[their famed Voice Harry] Caray, ‘They might be … they could be … they’re not [world champions for the first time since 1908]!’ Holy cow!”31 The Murph’s largest crowd — 58,359 for Game Five vs. September 1973’s 1,413 smallest — agreed. Chicago’s rendezvous with destiny would have to outlast the last 15 years of the twentieth century and first 16 years of the twenty-first.

In the fall classic, Detroit took a 3-2 opener. Kurt Bevacqua’s three-run dinger evened things, 5-3. The Tigers then swept at home, 5-2, 4-2, and 8-4, battering the Padres for a 4.71 Series ERA. NBC-TV’s 14-camera coverage etched Detroit’s Alan Trammell’s long-ball solo; mate Kirk Gibson’s aria, going deep; and Dick Williams’s dirge, telling reliever Andy Hawkins, “We’ve got a long way to go.” A Padres fan hoped that at least making the Series would prophesy H.G. Wells’ The Shape of Things to Come.32 Their park’s shape continued to change. Before 1984, The Murph was open beyond the right- and center-field bleachers, a view of the Mission Valley enhancing the game’s lulls and other rhythms. To please the Chargers, that winter, bleachers swelled to fully enclose the field, making capacity 59,022. The 1985 Padres tested it, drawing 2 million at home for the first time — 2,210,352. On September 11, it played a foil for another team. “It’s into left-center! There it is!” Reds Voice Ken Wilson said. “Rose has eclipsed [Ty] Cobb! … [Pitcher] Eric Show becomes a spectator as this city mobs its native son! The moment we’ve all waited for — hit number 4,192 that makes Pete Rose the all-time baseball hit leader!” Added Time magazine: “By the number and beyond he is what he does. Rose is baseball.”33 Its opinion, like most of America’s, would change.

Fall 1985 brought the Pads, quoting Warren Harding’s 1920 campaign for president, “Back to Normalcy” — on October 2, the Dodgers clinched the West, their third time since 1981. 1986: Gwynn led the league with 211 hits. Montreal’s Tim Raines led with a .334 average. 1987: The batting title reverted more or less to Tony’s permanent possession (.370). Rookie of the Year Benito Santiago debuted with a franchise-record 34-game hitting streak. 1988: Gwynn encored as titlist (.313) as San Diego placed third. On August 30 LA’s Orel Hershiser yielded a run, then threw the first of 59 straight scoreless innings to break Don Drysdale’s 1968 big-league mark of 58. On September 28 he threw his last 10 innings. “There’s a drive to right field!” bayed Coleman. “He’s going to put it away! Oh, doctor! History was born right here!” At Jack Murphy, now-Dodgers Voice Big D joked that at least Hershiser had kept it in the family. Meanwhile, in the Pads’ famille, Mark Davis next year became the team’s third Cy Younger, Gwynn three-peated a batting crown, and in the saddest “shape of things,” as Wells had said, San Diego reclaimed last.

Churchill said: “We shape our buildings and afterwards our buildings shape us.”34 Barely a quarter-century old, The Murph, starting to prematurely age, now began to show why a great baseball franchise needed a baseball-only site. Earlier, it had been sustained by a past to hail –Jack Murphy as the first big-league park to laud a Negro League player — and present to eye.
“The Claw” referenced a man sitting in the first outfield row of seats with a rod and a claw on its end. Upon a homer, he lowered the claw and it collapsed on the ball. At worst, a right-field mural showed a crowd support profanity — actress Roseanne Arnold (nee Barr)’s 1990 National Anthem. At best, the park housed quality — Gwynn’s six hits in a game and NL-best-since-1930 .394 in 1993 and 1994, respectively, and a war hero and former big-league infielder who fused Mrs. Malaprop and Dizzy Dean.

“On the mound is Randy Jones, the left-hander with the Karl Marx hairdo,” said Jerry Coleman, who once fretted about such “Colemanisms” but ultimately “figure they add to my sex appeal.” Jesus Alou was “in the on-deck circus.” Winfield was “going back … back … he hits his head against the wall. It’s rolling toward second base!” A man “slides into second with a stand-up double.”35 NBC’s Bob Costas defined the most memorable personality, with Gwynn, in Pads history. “He’d have been inimitable in any event. These magnificent departures from norm made him unforgettable.”36 Sit back and “put a star on that baby”37 — Jerry’s signature, akin to Mel Allen’s “How about that!” or Caray’s “Holy Cow!” Most announcers blur. Coleman’s identity entered San Diego’s bloodstream.

Baseball’s sterling linguist knew the way from San Jose, born September 14, 1924. After high school, he delayed entering baseball to serve in World War II as a Marine Corps fighter pilot, flying 57 missions. Returning home, Coleman moved from Yankees’ Class-D Wellsville to the Bronx in 1949 to next year’s Babe Ruth Award as the World Series’ most valuable player. Leaving baseball, the lieutenant colonel then flew 63 missions in the Korean War before rejoining the Yanks. “Bob Feller and Ted Williams were right,” Coleman said. “What you do for America counts most” — in his case, 13 Air Medals, three Navy citations, and two Distinguished Flying Crosses.38

Retiring as a player in 1957, Coleman became the Yankees’ personnel director. His CBS-TV pre-Game of the Week began in 1960. Instantly it almost closed. Jerry was interviewing Cookie Lavagetto when the “Star-Spangled Banner” started. “Better keep talking,” the apprentice thought, and did through the Anthem. Letters swamped CBS. “Believe me,” he later said, “when the Anthem starts I stop, whether I’m taping, talking, or eating a banana.”39 Jerry covered 1963-69 Yankees radio/TV, at first so insecure that “you need someone to pat you on the back.” Instead, a sadist mailed a record to him titled “Famous Jungle Sounds.” In film’s Mary Poppins a character moans, “Things began to happen to me.” Working, Jerry’s never stopped. Once, interviewing Baltimore pitcher Dave McNally’s wife, Coleman said, “I guess you ladies wear the pants when your husbands are gone.” She smiled, saying, “And we take them off when they come home.” Another warm day Jerry stripped to shorts in Kansas City. A woman complained. “So I had to put my pants back on,” he said. “Not that I took them off that often, anyway.”40

Jerry next aired the 1970-71 Angels, then moved down the coast, where he aired the Padres for nearly four decades. In 1980 he briefly left to manage them to a 73-89 finis. Some blamed a “generation gap” between Jerry and especially some of his younger players. Coleman, showing class redolent of his generation, blamed no one, returning a year later to radio, “where I’m probably more comfortable. Most players think I was born at 45,” he said.41 That puzzled most listeners, for whom Jerry eternally and endearingly seemed 12.

In 1979 Winfield had nearly made a leaping catch. “If he had made that play,” said Coleman, “they’d be throwing babies from the upper deck.”42 At the end of the Pads’ 1984 World Series, hoods rushed the field upon his postgame show. “At Tiger Stadium, it’s only 30 feet from the field to the booth,” Jerry stated a quarter-century later, having dodged trash and almost sent the Detroit club his dry-cleaning bill.43 In 1993 he did CBS Radio’s LCS, saying on-air, “It was a fantastic game last night. I’m still trying to figure out who did what, and why?”44 In 1999 Gwynn got hit number 3,000. “Right-center field! Base hit!” one Mr. Padre spoke as the other swung. “Oh-ho, doctor, you can hang a star on that baby! A star for the ages for Tony Gwynn!”45 In 2002 Jerry became baseball’s oldest full-time Voice. The 2004 Pads gave him an open-ended pact at 80. Several years later he voluntarily curbed his work.

In 2005 Coleman got the Hall of Fame’s Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence. A San Diegan recalled, “Here’s [Johnny Grubb] under the warning track.” A hitter lined “up the alley. … Oh, it’s foul.” On one hand, Jerry denied saying, “‘Rich Folkers is throwing up in the bullpen.’ I said, ‘He’s throwing them up.’” On the other, he did say, “This is the only afternoon day game in the National League”; “They throw Winfield out at second, and he’s safe”; [George] Hendrick simply lost that sun-blown popup”; and “Next up is Barry Carry Garry Templeton.”46 In 2012 the Pads dedicated a statue of its most beloved Padre in his most beloved garb — Coleman, in military dress. Upon his 2014 death, people bought bouquets and other floral arrangements to lay at the statue. “Sometimes big trees grow out of acorns. I think I heard that from a squirrel,” Jerry would say. Sometimes legends grow out of little boys from California, who dream of playing ball.47

Another World War II hero, George H.W. Bush, loved baseball as much as any president, having followed, played, and coached the game in every permutation. In 1992 his popularity temporarily at sea, he was heartily booed by the crowd at The Murph on throwing out the first ball at the All-Star Game.48 The AL battered NL pitchers as Bill Clinton would Bush in that fall’s election, 13-6. A Padre won the batting title, as had become customary. It wasn’t Gwynn, hitting .317, as had become the rule. Gary Sheffield wed a .330 average, another league-high 323 total bases, and 33 home runs. Mate Fred McGriff led with 35 homers. In 1991 Joe Carter had been dealt to Toronto. In 1993 McGriff and Sheffield were traded, the Friars again placing last, like the bad old days. Worse, the 1994 season ended with a players lockout that began August 12, lasted 234 days, canceled a World Series for the first time since 1904, ended in April 1995, and capsized statistics. Gwynn ended 1994 with a franchise-record .394 average. “Who knows,” said Coleman, “if he’d have hit .400 with seven weeks more to hit?”49

In retrospect, the lockout’s end began a crucial part of Jack Murphy’s story, scripted largely by a man who loved Pittsburgh’s lyric Forbes Field as a boy “and saw the damage”50 when the Pirates left in 1970 for multisport Three Rivers Stadium. By the 1980s, Baltimore Orioles VP/general counsel Larry Lucchino had become owner Edward Bennett Williams’s choice to chart aging Memorial Stadium’s successor. First, the club vetoed a baseball/football plant to replace it. The O’s then hired a new architectural design firm Helmuth, Obata, and Kassabaum (HOK Sport), whose first plan mimicked bland new Comiskey Park. Lucchino and Williams banned that, too, razing an 85-acre plot parallel to old trolley tracks, near historic Camden Railroad Station of the old Baltimore & Ohio, a pop fly from Inner Harbor. Bricks and mortar followed, the product Oriole Park at Camden Yards, opening in 1992 — a new park that became an outlier, not built at the vortex of interstates, but actually in the city; better, becoming part of it.51 Before his 1988 death of cancer, Williams made Lucchino O’s president.

Lucchino recalled A. Bartlett Giamatti asking, “Why can’t we have modern amenities and idiosyncrasy? Give me sharper quirks and odder angles,”52 the past Yale University and future commissioner evoking his first game, at 10, dad taking him to Fenway Park. Oakland seats half-circled each foul line. Camden’s nuzzled them. New Comiskey’s no-man’s land separated seats from an inner fence. Camden’s wall and bleachers fused, “fielders grabbing a homer from the stands,” Lucchino said. Fences at most parks then curved. The Yard’s — few called it “Oriole Park” — leapt angularly and irregularly, tying features of Ebbets Field, Wrigley Field, Shibe Park, and old Comiskey Park. The 46,500-seat arc drew a then-O’s record 3,567,819 in 1992 — to the New York Times, “the best plan for a major league baseball park in more than a generation.” In December 1988, Giamatti said, having seen a model: “When this park is complete, every team will want one. Baseball can be like life — the keys to the future often lie in the past.”53 Camden Yards keyed 21 sites, including San Diego, in the next 21 years. In 1994 expansion made the NL West briefly a four-team division. That year Lucchino left the Orioles’ 41,000 paid and waiting season-ticket list to become San Diego president, CEO, and minority owner.

The 1994 Pads and Astros made the majors’ largest deal, involving 12 players, since 1957. Such peddling was one way to retain marquee. Another presented itself when “the [1996] Republican [National] Convention kicked us out of our stadium,” said Larry. “So we went to Monterrey [Mexico, vs. the Mets] because we were trying to become a regional team,” Estadio Monterrey hosting the bigs’ first game outside the United States or Canada. Fernando Valenzuela won the inaugural, 15-10, San Diego alive with Spanish-speaking people. “We’re the only team next to the border,” said Lucchino, starting Spanish oral and written ads, “and we’d ignored them for years.”54 The Pads revived their swinging Friars mascot. San Diego bought a 24-by-33-foot JumboTron, closed the top outfield deck, cut capacity to 48,639, but built field-level seats behind the plate, and put an 86-foot-long by 9½-foot-high board atop the right-field fence, making lefties clear a 17½-foot barrier. Cordiality would market, if The Murph were made over. A P.A. mike rotated Top 40 and organ music. A gourmet might inhale barbecue at the Randy Jones BBQ Grill, where ironically the “Super Big Slugger Dog” became a menu favorite of the ex-pitcher’s clientele.55

Above all, the Padres aimed to make good by playing well, nothing marketing like success. The 1996 Friars won a final-day West title. In 1995 Ken Caminiti had become the first to homer from each side of the plate thrice in four games. Now the NL Most Valuable Player set a new team high in homers (40), RBIs (130), and slugging (.621). Steve Finley had 348 total bases. John Flaherty hit in 27 straight games. In October, Golconda crashed in the best-of-five Division Series, born a year earlier — a Cardinals sweep.56 In 1997, The Murph became Qualcomm Stadium, after rights sponsor Qualcomm Corp. The general stadium site was named “Jack Murphy Field.” More rousing: reliever Trevor Hoffman’s wonderwork (37 saves), Gwynn’s Honus Wagner-tying NL eighth batting title (.372 average, in addition to 119 RBIs!), and travel to Hawaii’s Aloha Stadium during Qualcomm’s construction. “We couldn’t play in San Diego,” said Pads co-owner John Moores, “so we moved a [three-game] series.” Old habits lingered. St. Louis won twice.57

How to top the topper? The ’98ers topped 1984’s as the best Padres team, their regular-season path to a pennant starring a potpourri of precedent — Hoffman’s 53 saves, Greg Vaughn’s 50 homers, Bruce Bochy as manager of the year, and 98-64 record — each a franchise high. San Diego’s second Division Series went better, the highest-scoring NL team, Houston, batting .182. Game One: Vaughn homered and Kevin Brown fanned a Division Series record 16, beating Randy Johnson, 2-1. Two: After Pad Jim Leyritz’s ninth-inning blast tied the score, the Astros untied it, 5-4. Three: The first baseman again homered, Friars, 2-1, set and lead. Four: Padres winning, 6-1, Leyritz ended his season in a series with a third dinger in a week after joining San Diego from Boston with eight. Ahead: The LCS vs. Atlanta, the “Team of the Decade,” having won 106 games in the regular season and swept its DS from the Cubs.

A different Braves team unaccountably lost the first two sets at home — 3-2 in 10 innings as Caminiti homered and Donnie Wall saved, and 3-0 as Brown blanked Atlanta on three hits. In Game Three at Qualcomm Stadium the Braves thrice loaded the bases — twice with less than two out — and failed to score, losing, 4-1, to Sterling Hitchcock. Atlanta’s three future Hall of Fame starters now had an opening no-decision (John Smoltz) and two losses (Game Two-Three’s Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux). Rallying, the Braves countered, 8-3 and 7-6, the latter pivoted by Michael Tucker’s three-run bolt off Brown briefly converting Pad congregants to church mice. Go figure: In five of six games the LCS road team won, including the clincher: San Diego, 5-0, in Georgia, Hitchcock beating Glavine, his series ERA 0.90.58

The Padres’ World Series rival had a different blood type. The Yankees had ended the regular season with an American League record 114-48, swept Texas in the DS, and beaten Cleveland in the LCS. If they could sweep the fall classic, they would record an overall 1998 won-lost 125-50 — the majors’ most single-season victories and among best percentage of all time.

In 1937 Lou Gehrig had hit a long home run off Dizzy Dean at the All-Star Game in Washington. Irked, Ol’ Diz threw a fastball to the next batter, Earl Averill, whose drive smashed off Dean’s left toe. Diz was removed and examined by a doctor. “Your big toe is fractured,” the doctor said. “Fractured, hell,” Diz stormed, “the damn thing’s broken!”59 In the 1998 Series opener, a like incident occurred. In the second inning, New York’s Chili Davis lashed a line drive off Kevin Brown’s left shin. Gamely, Brown kept pitching as the Padres built a 5-2 lead on two homers by Vaughn and one by Gwynn. Brown exited in the seventh inning, still ahead, before the bullpen crumbled, Chuck Knoblauch’s three-run home run preceding Tino Martinez’s grand-slam — Yanks win, 9-6. “If he’s not hurt,” Jerry Coleman said, “he stays in. Probably the whole game and Series are different.”60

In Game Two, the pinstripes sprayed 16 hits off four Padres pitchers down the peewee lines and to the gaping alleys of the historic Bronx arcade, romping, 9-3. Game Three returned to Qualcomm, where a year earlier more than 10,000 seats were placed behind the outfield for the Super Bowl to make football capacity 67,054 — and palm trees put between the stands and fence to suggest the breezy and informal merely affirmed the antiseptic and artificial. The Friars led, 3-2, in the eighth inning, before 64,667, Hoffman then yielding a three-run homer to Scott Brosius, the third baseman’s second in as many innings: 5-4 final. A day later Andy Pettitte and two relievers threw a 3-0 shutout before 65,427. Overall the Dismal Swamp/Sweep embodied the team gulf, the Bombers outscoring San Diego, 26-13. Once again Hitchcock’s ERA was sterling: 1.50.

On cue, the ’99ers then evoked the title of Bel Kaufman’s 1964 best-selling novel, Up the Down Staircase,61 so characteristic of their lineage. Down: The Pads finished two games from the cellar. Up: “The season brought back baseball in San Diego,” said Coleman.62 Several lights offset the dark. Hoffman pitched in the July 13, 1999, All-Star Game at Fenway Park. Gwynn, on the disabled list but naturally named to the National League team, flew in from San Diego, saying, “I finally got to see it! Fenway!”63 Was the batting Matisse 39, or 9? Before the game a native San Diegan, 80, frail, and The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived, rode a golf cart from center field to the pitcher’s mound, the ovation so huge that American League starting pitcher Pedro Martinez said, “I thought the stadium was going down.”64

All-Stars rushed to greet Ted Williams as Fenway shook. Baseball’s Grand Old Man asked Mark McGwire, “Do you ever smell the wood burn?” of bat hitting ball. Rafael Palmeiro refused to leave. “The game can wait. That’s the chance of a lifetime.”65 The Expos’ Larry Walker noted tears in Ted’s eyes — and his. Saint Francisco Xavier said, “Give me a child until he’s seven, and you may have him afterward.” Even now, The Kid made children of us all. Seldom did baseball play memory’s soundtrack more exquisitely than the evening No. 9 tossed out the first ball in the Fens. Ironically, it occurred at the same time another great hitter readied to retire — and the team in Ted’s place of birth signaled that it might leave its park.

The prior November a $476 million taxpayer-funded referendum had passed to build a new San Diego ballpark. On August 6, 1999, the man who most helped pass it batted in Montreal. At Qualcomm, thousands chanted his name, watched the game free on a giant-screen TV, and celebrated hit 3,000. A week later nearly 61,000 jammed the yard on Gwynn’s return. His reply –a pair of two-run homers. Life begins at 40, which Tony turned in 2000, retiring a year later. He holds a virtual patent on San Diego’s big-league batting history: most games (2,440), at-bats (9,288), runs (1,383), hits (3,141), batting average (.338), doubles (543), triples (85), total bases (4,259), RBIs (1,138), extra-base hits (763), and stolen bases (319), among others. Gwynn trails in only home runs (135) to Nate Colbert’s 163 and three others. No. 19 was retired by the Pads, like Steve Garvey’s 6, Dave Winfield’s 31, Randy Jones’ 35, Jackie Robinson’s 42 (by baseball), and Trevor Hoffman’s 51.

In 2001 Tony and Rickey Henderson, 42, became the first mates in their 40s in the same outfield since Detroit’s Doc Cramer and Chuck Hostetler in 1945. Henderson set baseball’s all-time walk record (2,063). In October, he got his 3,000th hit in Gwynn’s final game. Pro: Winfield entered Cooperstown that year, having played 1973-80 in San Diego, for which he twice batted .308, hit up to 34 home runs, and thrice had more than 90 RBIs — the first Hall of Famer to have a Padres emblem on his cap, followed by Gwynn in 2007 and Hoffman in 2018. Con: A swarm of bees on the right-field auxiliary scoreboard halted a 2001 Pads-Dodgers game. They didn’t stay long enough: LA, 5-4. Unless you were there, most of the public in time forgot the incident — but not the splendor of Gwynn’s life on and off the field, ended in 2014 of cancer. Remembered, too, was the taxpayer referendum to build downtown Petco Park — business, groups like the nonpartisan City Club of San Diego, and the taxpayer, above all.

Named for local pet supplies retailer Petco, which paid for naming rights until 2026, Petco was built in the downtown area of San Diego with a capacity of 40,219. It was designed by HOK Sport to anchor a Ballpark District of offices, homes, and retail shops — “vital,” said Lucchino, his oceanside La Jolla home between LA and San Diego, “to making a seedy area a year-round jewel.”66 Jacaranda trees, palm courts, and water malls conjured an early-Spanish mission. Nearly 4,000 could stand or sit on an incline beyond center field. Bookending them: “two-tiered left- and right-field bleachers, like the grandstand individual sections, each facing the mound,” said the 2010-16 TV Voice of the Padres, legendary Dick Enberg.67 The beautiful and historic brick and timber Western Metal Supply Co. building, once an abandoned warehouse, abutted left field, a corner painted yellow — Petco’s new foul line! “This is how we sited the ballpark,” HOK architect Joseph Spear said.68 “We worked from the corner of that building. We worked backwards. The tip of home plate created that ‘X’ [magical] dimension, and the field and grandstand went around that.”

An environmental dustup postponed the Padres’ debut at Petco Park. Thankfully, justice delayed there did not become justice denied. The club played its last game at The Murph on September 28, 2003: Colorado, 10-8. San Diego drew a season 2,030,084 to watch its third last-place club of the new century. The Chargers played there through 2017, vainly seeking a new local home, then egressed to LA, leaving the Friars as the sole big-league club not sharing its city with another pro team in football, hockey, or hoops. It housed two World Series (1984 and 1998), two All-Star Games (1978 and 1992), and three Super Bowls (1988, 1998, and 2003) — given “retro” baseball parks, almost sure to remain the only place to host a Series and Super Bowl in the same year (1998.)

The San Diego University Aztecs and several college bowls still call the former Murph home. In 2017 the San Diego County Credit Union bought Qualcomm’s naming rights through 2018 and almost farcically redubbed it SDCCU Stadium. The original San Diego Stadium closed for baseball with 11 seat prices for sites from standing room to field-level infield box. At one end, the 1969-2003 Padres only nine times placed even higher than fourth. At another, when San Diego hit it big the Pads almost ran the table, taking the division thrice and NL pennant twice.

On March 11, 2004, the first baseball game at Petco Park involved a four-team NCAA invitational tournament hosted by the Aztecs, coached by Gwynn, beating Houston. The first big-league match was April 8, the Padres edging San Francisco, 4-3, in 10 innings. Lucchino had left two years earlier to become Red Sox president, the ’04 Olde Towne Team winning its first world title since 1918. Meantime, his West Coast bequest became widely hailed and often filled — a first-year franchise high 3,016,752, next-season 2,869,787, and yearly near or more than 2 million since.

Like Camden Yards, Petco Park was asymmetrical — the left-field line and straightaway left field originally 336 and 357 feet, respectively, and left-center field a potent 402 feet from home plate. Center field stood 396 feet away, right-center field a fearsome 411, straightaway right field 382 feet, and the right-field line 322 — more of a pitchers’ park than first thought, the ball not carrying. Thus, some lengths were cut — left-center field to 390 feet, right-center field to 391, and straightaway right to 349 — offense rising, without harming the ballyard’s look.

By any length, Camden West is a grand venue by which to watch on television, gentle camera angles welcoming. In person, it seems an especially fine fit for the pastime after The Murph’s bastardization to help football thrive. Yet for more than a third of a century San Diego-Jack Murphy Stadium kept baseball in San Diego alive, even well, prefacing Petco Park. We can all say Amen to that.

 

Dedication

To the late Jerry Coleman and Dick Enberg, Padres broadcasters and recipients of the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum — the Everest of their field, as each freely said. As a writer and member of the Frick committee, I knew both well. Both loved baseball deeply — and cared for the Padres intensely. Each loved America, and leaves a lesson for how life should be lived. To each this essay is dedicated.

 

Sources

Unless otherwise indicated, baseball statistics are derived from baseball-reference.com and retrosheet.org.

Grateful appreciation is made to reprint all play-by-play and color radio text courtesy of John Miley’s The Miley Collection. In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, most especially the Society for American Baseball Research, the author also consulted Baseball-Reference.com and Retrosheet.org websites for box scores, player, season, and team pages, batting and pitching logs, and other material relevant to this history. FanGraphs.com provided statistical information. In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author also consulted:

Books

Angell, Roger and Walter Iooss Jr. Baseball (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1986).

Coffin, Tristram Potter. The Old Ball Game: Baseball in Folklore and Fiction (New York: Herder and Herder, 1971).

Cohen, Richard M., David S. Neft, and Roland T. Johnson. The World Series (New York: Dial Press, 1976).

Halberstam, David. The Teammates (New York: Hyperion, 2004).

Koppett, Leonard. Koppett’s Concise History of Major League Baseball (Philadelphia: Temple University, 2015).

Lowry, Philip L. Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of Major and Negro League Ballparks (New York: Walker and Company, 2006).

Patterson, Ted. The Golden Voices of Baseball (Champaign, Illinois: Sports Publishing, 2002).

Seymour, Harold, and Dorothy Seymour Mills. Baseball: The People’s Game (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990).

Smith, Curt. Storied Stadiums: Baseball’s History of Its Ballparks (New York: Carroll & Graf, 2001).

___. Voices of Summer: Ranking Baseball’s 101 All-Time Best Announcers (New York: Carroll & Graf, 2005).

Williams, Ted, with David Pietrusza. Ted Williams: My Life in Words and Pictures. (Toronto: Sports Media Publishing, 2002).

Newspapers

The Sporting News was a primary source of information about San Diego Stadium, especially its embryonic and youthful years. The San Diego Union-Tribune was another principal source of information. Other contemporary sources include Associated Press, Baseball Digest, Houston Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, St. Petersburg Times, Sunbelt Publications, New York Times, and United Press.

Interviews

Emil J. “Buzzie” Bavasi, with author, November 1978.

Jerry Coleman, with author, May 2003 and April 2010.

Bob Costas, with author, July 1993 and April 1997.

Dick Enberg, with author, October 2014.

Larry Lucchino, with author, August 2011 and July 2012.

 

Notes

1 Bill Swank, Echoes from Lane Field: A History of the San Diego Padres, 1936-1957 (Paducah, Kentucky: Turner, 1997).

2 Frank Finch, The Los Angeles Dodgers: The First Twenty Years (Virginia Beach, Virginia: Jordan & Co., 1977), 10.

3 “Dodgers Welcomed by Los Angeles,” Washington Post and Times-Herald, October 29, 1957: A18. SKM_284e18082714590.pdf.

4 Bill Shannon and George Kalinsky, The Ballparks (New York: Hawthorn, 1975), 216.

5 Ibid.

6 Emil J. “Buzzie” Bavasi interview with author, November 1978.

7 “This Day in Walter O’Malley History.” November 2, 1967, letter from C. Arnholt Smith to Walter O’Malley. walteromalley.com/en/biography/this day.

8 Henry Berry, A Baseball Century: The First 100 Years of the National League (New York: Rutledge, 1976), 132.

9 Ibid, 133.

10 The Sporting News Official Major League Baseball Fact Book 2001 Edition (St. Louis: The Sporting News, 2001), 467.

11 In the film The Natural, a line spoken by star Robert Redford as Roy Hobbs, based on Bernard Malamud’s 1952 novel. Produced, TriStar Pictures, 1984.

12 Official Major League Baseball Fact Book 2001 Edition, 467.

13 Berry, A Baseball Century, 133.

14 Ibid.

15 Ibid.

16 Ibid., 135.

17 Ibid., 136.

18 Ibid., 137. Both quotes courtesy Bavasi.

19 Ron Smith, The Ballpark Book: A Journey Through the Fields of Baseball Magic (St. Louis: The Sporting News, 2000), 78.

20 Jerry Coleman interview with author, April 2010.

21 Berry, A Baseball Century, 139.

22 “Ted Giannoulas — 42 Years as the San Diego Chicken,” National Herald, August 30, 2016. www.thenationalherald.com/134870/ted-giannoulas-42-years.

23 Berry, A Baseball Century, 132.

24 Ibid., 137.

25 Smith, The Ballpark Book, 83.

26 great-quotes.com/quotes/author/Casey/Stengel/pg/5.

27 Official Major League Baseball Fact Book 2001 Edition, 464.

28 Steve Wulf, “You’ve Got to Hand It to the Padres,” Sports Illustrated, October 15, 1984: 43. si.com/vault/1984/10/15/627634/youve-got-to-hand-it-to-the-padres.

29 Joe Hughes and Jay Johnson, “Full House Beats Nine Cubs,” San Diego Union-Tribune, October 5, 1984: A-1.

30 Unless otherwise indicated, this and following play-by-play courtesy of The Miley Collection.

31 Wulf.

32 H.G. Wells, The Shape of Things to Come (New York: Macmillan, 1933).

33 Tom Callahan, “A Rose Is a Rose Is a Rose,” Time, August 19, 1985: 46.

34 “Churchill and the Commons Chamber,” on Parliament’s official website in London: parliament.uk/about/living-heritage/building/palace/architecture/palacestructure/churchill. Quote from Churchill’s speech to the House of Commons after that chamber’s destruction by Nazi bombing during The Blitz.

35 baseball-almanac.com/quotes/quocole.shtml.

36 Bob Costas interview with author, July 1993.

37 Coleman, April 2010 interview, discussing his frequent use of “Hang a star on that baby!”

38 Ibid.

39 Ibid.

40 Ibid.

41 Coleman interview with author, May 2003.

42 Ibid.

43 Ibid.

44 Play-by-play courtesy of CBS Radio.

45 Play-by-play courtesy of Padres Radio.

46 azquotes.com/author/27359-JerryColeman. All Coleman quotations in this paragraph.

47 Coleman April 2010 interview.

48 Bush’s booing continued despite the presence next to him on the field of native San Diegan Ted Williams.

49 Coleman April 2010 interview.

50 Larry Lucchino interview with author, July 2012.

51 Smith, The Ballpark Book, 148.

52 Lucchino July 2012 interview.

53 xroads.virginia.edu/~MA01/Lisle/Memory. From my story, “Comeback!” for The American Enterprise magazine in 1997. Giamatti’s quote was taken from my interview of the then-National League president in December 1988.

54 Lucchino July 2012 interview.

55 sandiegorestaurants.com./randy-jones-all-american-sports-grill/ Randy Jones BBQ Grill.

56 Official Major League Baseball Fact Book 2001 Edition, 347 and 467.

57 Ibid., 348.

58 Ibid., 348-49.

59 thestacks.deadspin.com/the-genius-of-baseballs-hillbilly-philosopher-1612606054. John Schulian, “The Genius of Baseball’s Hillbilly Philosopher,” August 1, 2014.

60 Coleman April 2010 interview.

61 Bel Kaufman, Up the Down Staircase (New York: Prentice Hall, 1964).

62 Coleman May 2003 interview.

63 Dan Shaughnessy, “Ted Williams the Star as All-Stars Come to Fenway Park,” Boston Globe, July 14, 1999.

64 Hayden Bird, “5 Times That Ted Williams’ Legend Loomed Over the All-Star Game,” Boston Globe, July 17, 2018.

65 Ibid.

66 Lucchino August 2011 interview.

67 Dick Enberg interview with author, October 2014.

68 Tim Newcomb, “Ballpark Quirks: Petco Park’s Historic Western Metal Supply Co. Building,” Sports Illustrated, July 21, 2014. si.com/mlb/2014/07/21/ballpark-quirks-san-diego-petco-park-western-metal-supply-company.

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