Recent news of the 2016 All-Star Game at Petco Park has generated a good deal of excitement in the city of San Diego. Bill Center of the San Diego Padres recently spoke with Randy Jones who recalled his own memorable performance in the 1976 All-Star Game. Jones was the winning pitcher in the All-Star Game that was also used as a moment to celebrate 200 years of American history. President Jimmy Carter threw out the first pitch and met with many of the players before the game.
"“The pregame ceremonies were heavy on history,” Jones recalled. “All the All-Stars got autographed balls from President [Gerald] Ford. I also got a ball signed by Tom Seaver.”"
Jones pitched three innings of shutout baseball, only allowing 2 hits and retiring 7 of the 9 outs on ground balls. Pretty good performance. When the National League won the game 7-1, Jones was credited with the victory.
The Padres are certainly hoping to create their own memories in their own park come 2016. Whether it’s Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner, or even a dark horse like Matt Wisler, there is reason for the Padres to be excited about hosting the event in a team that has seemed to turn competitive overnight.
As for Jones? He would continue on his impressive run and win the 1976 Cy Young by going 22-14 and 25 complete games in 40 starts. Last year Ian Kennedy led the Padres with 33 starts. Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner tied for the team lead with 2 complete games each. No other pitcher threw a complete game. Yes, the game has certainly changed in the 40 years since Jones started that game at Veterans Stadium. Jones relayed a story about catcher Johnny Bench consistently calling for curveballs even though Jones’ best pitch was the slider. Bench remarked that he couldn’t hit the curve so he figured no one else could either. Jones let him in on his secret that basically only Bench struggled with his curveball.
The All-Star Game is fun for the fans for the chance to see big stars like Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera on the same team, and the players enjoy the chance to talk with each other. Every year you see players on the field during the Home Run Derby or some other event talking with each other, having their kids play catch with each other, and it makes for a fun event. Every once in awhile there are the magical moments or sentimental moments like Derek Jeter‘s last All-Star Game, Chipper Jones, Cal Ripken Jr homering in his last game. The 2016 All-Star Game in Petco Park may provide a moment that lasts for the ages, or maybe Randy Jones can look down and see a future Padre star making their own memory.