A few weeks ago, I was dog/house-sitting for some family, eating breakfast after letting the dog out, and skimming the San Diego UT sports section. There was a little blurb about former pitcher Shawn Estes winning the 100th game of his career, and that inspired the following post. I sent it to a few of the guys over at Padres Public to get their opinion, and my brother decided that he wanted to post it on the site (seen here). I think enough time has passed and I can post it on my site (with pictures!).
Five years ago (May 13, 2008 to be exact), former San Francisco Giants pitcher Shawn Estes won his 100th career game, while pitching for the San Diego Padres. Estes would win only one more game that year. His best year was easily 1997 (with the Giants, of course), when he went 19-5 with a 3.18 ERA, striking out 181 in 201 innings. That year, Estes made his only All-Star Game appearance (he took the loss for the NL, after giving up 2 runs in 1 inning). After 13 seasons with 6 different organizations, Estes retired with a 101-93 career record, and a 4.71 ERA. In 2011, the Giants honored Estes with a plaque on their Wall of Fame. But this isn’t a post about my fandom of Shawn Estes.
Anytime I see that a pitcher has notched his 100th career win, I think of Eric Show. Show pitched for the San Diego Padres from 1981 to 1990, and having grown up in San Diego, I saw Eric Show pitch many times for the Padres. In his 11-year career, Show won 101 games. 100 of those wins were with the Padres; with a career high of 16 in 1988 (he won 15 games in ’83 and again in ’84). Show had a career low ERA of 2.64 in 1982, and finished 8th in the Rookie of the Year ballot that year. He never made an All-Star team, but finished in the Top 10 in the National League in wins three times (’83, ’84, ’88). Show also threw 13 complete games in 1988, 3rd most in the NL.
Eric Show might be most remembered for giving up Pete Rose’s 4192nd hit on September 11, 1985. The image of Show sitting on the mound while baseball honored the new “Hit King” is forever etched into my mind. Two years later, after Andre Dawson had homered in 3 of his previous 5 plate appearances again the Padres, Show hit Dawson on his left cheekbone, starting a bench clearing brawl with the Cubs.
Show retired after playing the 1991 season with Oakland, where he went 1-2 with a 5.92 ERA, finishing his career with a 101-89 career record, and 3.66 ERA (100-87, 3.59 with San Diego). On March 16, 1994, Eric Show passed away from a drug overdose while in a rehab center east of San Diego.
Almost 25 years after he last pitched for San Diego, Eric Show is still the Padres leader with 100 career wins. Randy Jones, who last pitched for the Padres in 1980, is tied for second with Jake Peavy (traded to the White Sox in 2009) with 92. Trevor Hoffman, the man who is second in Major League history with 601 career saves, is 10th on the Padres all-time win list with 54.
As a San Diego native and a baseball fan, I’ve wondered for a long time when this particular record will fall. Sure, the Padres have had their ups and downs, but it amazes me that they only have 1 guy in their history to reach 100 wins. It’s safe to assume that Jake Peavy would have broken that record if he had not been traded (even with his health issues), since he’s won 32 games in 5 years with the White Sox. Now, in that trade, the Padres did get Clayton Richard, who is currently 20th on the Padres all-time win list with 38 wins (which is not a good reason to wear your jersey backwards. If you don’t understand the reference, don’t worry about it. You don’t want to know the story). What are the chances that Richard gets another 62+ wins with San Diego, though? Tim Stauffer is the next active Padres pitcher on that list with 23 wins, but he only made one start in 2012 before needing elbow surgery.
If you can answer this question, you’re a better person than I am: why don’t the Padres honor/acknowledge Eric Show and his 100 wins as a member of the Padres?
I may be a Giants fan (this is well documented), but it’s also been documented that I’ve followed the Padres for most of my life. The Padres have won five National League West Division titles, and been to two World Series. One of the greatest hitters to ever play the game justifiably has a statue just outside the ballpark, not to mention that the address for Petco Park is 19 Tony Gwynn Drive. They have a “Hall of Fame” (6 “lockers” in one of the bars in the ballpark). During every Sunday home game, the team honors the local military, with recruits from Marine Corp Recruiting Depot—San Diego in attendance (there was a time when the Naval Training Center was still in use that Navy and Marine recruits would be in attendance (those games at Jack Murphy Stadium were awesome). Under the right field stands at Petco Park, the Padres honor all former Major League players who served in the military (it’s a longer list than you might think), and they have a statue of Jerry Coleman—former second baseman for the Yankees, former Padres manager, current Padres announcer, and Hall of Famer—honoring his service as a Marine Corp pilot during World War II and the Korean War, as well as his years with the Padres organization. It’s been reported that there are several plaques in center field, just in front of the batters eye at Petco honoring something or someone in Padres history, but since the public can’t access that area, I cannot confirm this.
At what point will the Padres honor more players, milestones, and records from their history? They do know that they can recognize players without retiring a number or building a statue, right? Surely there is a place in or around that ballpark where they can put up a plaque for Eric Show or Ken Caminiti or Ed Whitson or Dave Dravecky or Benito Santiago or Nate Colbert or Clay Kirby or Gary Templeton or Ozzie Smith or Tim Flannery or Jack McKeon or Bob Chandler or Jack Murphy or Ray and Joan Kroc, or any other number of players, managers, announcers, or members of the organization. If the Giants can give out a bobblehead honoring Joe Dimaggio’s time with the San Francisco Seals, why can’t the Padres do something…anything…recognizing Ted Williams’ time with the PCL Padres (and the fact that “The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived” grew up in San Diego. Pretty sure Tony Gwynn would give his stamp of approval since they were friends).
Nate Colbert was a 3-time All-Star (1971-73), and in a double header against Atlanta on August 1, 1972, he hit a total of 5 home runs (Stan Musial is the only other player to ever do that) and knocked in 11 RBI (which broke a record held by Musial). Only Johnny Bench hit more homers than Colbert in ’72, and his 111 RBI were a club record until 1996. Nate Colbert last played for the Padres in 1974, but his 163 career homers as a Padre are still a club record. Shouldn’t he be honored in some way, shape, or form by the club that’s more visible than a locker in the Hall of Fame Bar & Grill?
How about the 15 innings Clay Kirby pitched for the Padres on September 24, 1971? Or Preston Gomez, the Padres manager their first year in the National League? Ollie Brown was the organizations first selection in the 1968 Expansion Draft. How many Padres fans know that? How cool would it be to have something commemorating the time Marvel Wynne, Tony Gwynn, and John Kruk hit back-to-back-to-back home runs to open the 1987 home opener against the Giants?
The Padres may not have the history of the Yankees, Cardinals, or Giants, but they do have a history none-the-less. They don’t have to get into a debate about uniform colors or payroll or past trades or ballpark dimensions. They do, however, owe their fans some sort of public acknowledgement of the players who have come through the organization—the players who made these people Padres fans for life.