A look back at SABR 23: the 1993 San Diego convention

On the same day SABR’s 23rd annual convention began in San Diego, on June 24, 1993, the Padres traded away a promising young third baseman, Gary Sheffield. Earlier that day, Sheffield had been named to the Padres’ “25th Anniversary Dream Team,” pouring a little more salt in fans’ wounds at the prospect of a fire sale. One man brought a homemade cardboard sign to the SABR convention game at Jack Murphy Stadium that read “Will play 3B for cash.” No one could have known at the time that the Padres had received a future Hall of Fame closer named Trevor Hoffman in return.

When we return to San Diego for the 2019 SABR convention this month, during the Padres’ 50th anniversary season, we’ll get to see one of the most dynamic stars in the game today at third base in Manny Machado, who signed a record-breaking $300 million free agent deal with the Padres this past offseason.

Our SABR 49 convention will be highlighted by a visit from a number of Padres fan favorites, including Randy Jones, Mark Sweeney, Carlos Hernández, and Kurt Bevacqua — the World Series home run hitting-hero who emceed the Awards Luncheon at our first San Diego convention in 1993, which featured former manager Dick Williams as the keynote speaker.

The Padres’ first National League pennant-winning team was well represented at the SABR 23 convention, with Bevacqua and Bruce Bochy sharing their favorite stories from the 1984 season. Another memorable session was a Thursday night reception with San Diego native and Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Bobby Doerr.

Dick Williams and Kurt BevacquaOther panels at the 1993 convention — which was held on June 24-28 at the Town & Country Resort Hotel in Mission Valley, not far from the Padres’ home ballpark — included former major-leaguers Joe Nuxhall, Ray Boone, John Kibler, Pete Coscarart, and Irv Noren, and Pacific Coast League veterans Rod Graber, Al Olsen, Tony Criscola, umpire Bob O’Regan, and sports writer Earl Keller. A non-players panel included former American League umpire Ed Runge, longtime executive Buzzie Bavasi, and Reds announcer Marty Brennaman (the Ford C. Frick Award winner is retiring after this season.)

Bill Carle, a prolific researcher and longtime chair of our Biographical Research Committee, was selected as the winner of the Bob Davids Award, SABR’s highest honor. Many attendees and their families also took trips to the famed San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld, the Hall of Champions at Balboa Park, and to Tijuana, Mexico.

On Friday night, convention attendees took in Old-Timers’ Night festivities at Jack Murphy Stadium, although the ballgame between the Padres and the Cincinnati Reds “wasn’t too exciting,” as convention co-organizer Joe Naiman recalled, with the Padres in the midst of their midseason fire sale. Tony Gwynn was out with an injury, but future Hall of Famer Barry Larkin doubled and scored a run in the Reds’ 6-2 win.

Bill Carle and Bob DavidsThe convention journal, A History of San Diego Baseball, included articles on the Padres’ Pacific Coast League history, San Diego ballparks, Ted Williams’s childhood in the city, the 1984 Padres, and San Diego’s homegrown major-league stars. Click here to learn more about notable San Diego baseball history sites.

Visit SABR.org/convention to learn more about the upcoming SABR 49 convention in San Diego.

For more multimedia highlights from past SABR conventions, click here.

Originally published: June 12, 2019. Last Updated: June 12, 2019.