San Diego Padres: The First Half Century
Edited by Tom Larwin and Bill Nowlin
Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), 2019, 358 pp.
This year, the San Diego Padres are celebrating their 50th anniversary. I actually began following the Padres in 1970, their sophomore season. It’s been a bumpy ride, folks. San Diego is a smaller market compared to some of the higher-profile MLB cities, and the Padres just don’t have the money to regularly buy their way into the playoffs like the Dodger$ or Yankee$. But there’s several bright spots in the franchise’s history, like the trips to the World Series in 1984 and 1998.
Because residents of San Diego enjoy one of the finest climates in the U.S.A., they’re hard-pressed to sit in a stadium for three hours when there’s so many other things to do. The football Chargers moved from San Diego to Los Angeles in 2017 because the city wouldn’t help the team build a new stadium, but the fundamental issue was lack of fan support. Likewise, the Padres consistently draw below the MLB attendance average. Because of that lack of fan support, there just haven’t been many books written about the Padres over the years, so I’m grateful for this one, which commemorates the club’s fifty seasons.
There’s 66 chapters in this book collected under the following categories:
- The Players – profiles of 25 former Padres
- Managers, Executives, Media
- Spring Training, Stadia, and The Chicken
- Notable Padres Games
- Facts, Figures, Trivia
I was happy to see the publication of this book, which celebrates the team’s first fifty years, and I thoroughly enjoyed some of the old memories. However, believe me when I tell you that ONLY an old Padres fan like myself would enjoy reading this fact-filled tome. One small criticism: Many of the player profiles include copious amounts of information about the players’ stints with other ball clubs, but most Padres’ fans would not be interested.
Postscript: At the All-Star break, the Padres had a promising 45-45 record. Since then, they’ve gone 5-11, losing five series in a row.