Pacific Ghosts

  • San Diego Padres Near No-Hitters By Steven M. Glassman

    In 7,976 regular-season games through the end of the 2018 season, the San Diego Padres had never thrown a no-hitter. Five times, the Padres have taken no-hit bids into the ninth inning. Here are summaries of those games.

  • San Diego Breaks Pacific Coast League Color Barrier By Alan Cohen

    In 2005, the Padres unveiled a bust of Johnny Ritchey at the recently opened Petco Park, two years after his death. In 2017, Ritchey was inducted into the Breitbard Hall of Fame in San Diego. Why was Ritchie memorialized? He was the Pacific Coast League’s barrier breaker in terms of color. He spent parts of seven seasons in the PCL but never got the call to play in the majors.

  • Bill Starr: The San Diego Padre Who Batted for Ted Williams and Integrated the PCL By Gary Sarnoff

    In December 1936, the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League purchased a catcher from the Albany Senators. Bill Starr would leave his mark on San Diego baseball history: As a player, he had the honor of pinch-hitting for Ted Williams. As an owner, he signed the player who broke the Pacific Coast League color-barrier.

  • The San Diego Tigers of the West Coast Negro Baseball League By Leslie Heaphy

    As World War II ended, baseball was moving in a new direction. The Brooklyn Dodgers' signing of Jackie Robinson launched a new era of integration for the National Pastime, the first step in a long journey that is still in progress. Since the doors to the majors would not open right away, there continued to be a need for opportunities for non-white players. Abe Saperstein, owner of the Harlem Globetrotters, began to work with local businessmen in California in late 1945 to create a West Coast League, which would begin play in 1946 as a way to continue to offer chances for African American ballplayers.

  • Researching Ted Williams' Latino Roots By Bill Nowlin

    Although Ted Williams might have habitually brushed the subject of his Mexican heritage aside, researchers no longer can.

  • The Guide to Spalding: San Diego, 1900–15 By Mark Souder

    Albert Spalding lived an extraordinary life as one of baseball’s most important figures. This article focuses on his San Diego years, during which he helped develop San Diego into the city it is today, as well as key connections in his early life that set up his grand finale.

  • Charlie Schmutz: The First San Diego-Born Major Leaguer By Bill Lamb

    25 years before Ted Williams made his Red Sox debut, the trail to the major leagues for the San Diego-born ballplayer was blazed by a player as obscure as the Splendid Splinter is famous: Charlie Schmutz, a Deadball Era right-handed pitcher.

  • No. 19, Ted Williams, LF, San Diego Padres By Tom Larwin

    In June 1936, a 17-year-old San Diego high school student signed his first professional baseball contract — with his parents’ approval — to play for his hometown San Diego Padres. Ted Williams was “The Kid,” and he went on to play 42 games that summer for the Pacific Coast League Padres, ending the season as the team’s regular left fielder. Williams graduated from high school in January and continued to play with the Padres in 1937.

  • The Shared National Pastime: San Diego’s First Japanese Ball Game By Robert K. Fitts

    In 1905, the Waseda University baseball club from Tokyo became the first foreign team to tour the United States. Waseda’s popularity introduced Japanese baseball to white Americans and turned many Issei into baseball fans and players. Inspired by the publicity surrounding the tour, Guy Green decided to create a barnstorming team of Japanese players. He recruited a squad of Issei from the West Coast and sent them on a 150-plus-game tour of the Midwest. They would be the first professional Japanese team on either side of the Pacific.

  • American Indian Baseball in Old North County: San Diego Heritage at Riverside’s Sherman Institute By Tom Willman

    The first three decades of the 20th century are generally viewed as the great age of the Native American athlete. Much of that reputation rests on the well-publicized achievements of federal Indian boarding school athletes, such as Chief Bender and Jim Thorpe. California's Sherman Institute, 25th and last in the chain of these Indian schools, provided similar exposure for top American Indian athletes of the West. It also provided a window on how ardently baseball was embraced across this “Mission Indian” country.

  • Relief Pitching and the San Diego Padres: A Half-Century of Excellence By Wayne M. Towers

    While the San Diego Padres experienced only two World Series in the half-century after their 1969 founding, they did have a long and storied history of relief pitching: three Hall of Fame careers; a Rookie of the Year and a Cy Young Award winner; and the 2004 denouement of a tragic figure.

  • Raw Materials: The Padres’ Expansion 30 By Mark Camps

    On October 14, 1968, just four days after the final out of the World Series, the National League held an expansion draft. The San Diego Padres said they drafted for speed, pitching, and fielding. The team they took to the field to open their inaugural 1969 season was an eclectic bunch.

  • Baseball Burials in San Diego By Fred Worth

    A cemetery tour of some of the better-known baseball figures buried in San Diego.

  • The Silver Anniversary of Tony Gwynn’s Quest for .400 By Geoff Young

    A look back 25 years after the 1994 players’ strike deprived baseball fans of many simple pleasures. Among the casualties were postseason play, Matt Williams’s assault on the single-season home-run record, and Tony Gwynn’s pursuit of the hallowed .400 batting average — a feat not achieved since Ted Williams batted .406 in 1941.

  • Tony Gwynn: Meeting Baseball’s Best Hitter By Michael J. Schell

    Tony Gwynn played his entire major league career for the Padres and was elected to the Hall of Fame on his first ballot. The author explains his meeting with baseball's best hitter before a milestone at-bat.

  • Steve Garvey and the Most Iconic Moment in San Diego Sports History By Kevin Mills

    Steve Garvey’s game-winning two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning against Lee Smith of the Chicago Cubs in Game 4 of the 1984 National League Championship Series was ranked as the greatest sports moment in San Diego history.

  • Profiles in Plumage: The San Diego Chicken By John Racanelli

    The tale of Ted Giannoulas and his chicken suit is a quintessential study in perseverance, innovation, and, perhaps regrettably, an inexhaustible supply of barnyard puns. The Chicken’s favorite baseball play, for example, is the balk. With this in mind, the author has endeavored to avoid laying an egg in the telling of the San Diego Chicken’s story

  • Alan Wiggins: A Tragic Hero By Fred O. Rodgers

    In early February 1985, Alan Wiggins became the newest big-money player for the defending National League champion San Diego Padres. Was it a wise move by the Padres? Hindsight shows it was anything but. After a suspension for using cocaine, Wiggins's career with the Padres ended with less than one year completed on his four-year contract.

  • Rupe’s Troops, No Más Monge, and Tempy Turns It Around: Part of the Padres Golden Era By Brian P. Wood

    With four consecutive .500 or better seasons highlighted by a trip to the World Series, 1982–85 was truly the Padres' first Golden Era, with personalities to go along with it. The shouts of “Roop, Roop,” the ups and downs of Sid Monge on the mound, and Garry Templeton turning the tide for the Padres were major parts of that gilded age.