Some reflection and thoughts after watching San Diego Padres RHP Trevor Hoffman’s induction into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.
In front of over 53,000 fans on Sunday, including yours truly, Trevor Hoffman became the third member of the San Diego Padres to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.He may have been the fourth speaker of the day, but his should have been saved for last, it was simply the best.
There was a tribute video to Trevor narrated by legendary Padres and current Giants manager Bruce Bochy. Commissioner Manfred then read his plaque which will hang in the Hall of Fame for all time.
The first line of Trevor’s plaque states, “Master of a mystifying change-up…” and everyone who faced Hoffman in Major League Baseball would probably agree. Those words convey perfectly the first person in MLB history to reach the 500 and 600 save mark.
Over the roughly 10 minutes he spoke, he quoted both Jerry Coleman and John Wooden multiple times. He powerfully and eloquently thanked everyone that helped him along his journey from San Diego to Cooperstown. He acknowledged Tony Gwynn, his family, his many coaches, and the fans who helped shape him from a failed shortstop toiling in the minor leagues, to the closer who now enters the Hall of Fame.
Behind Atlanta fans who were there for Chipper Jones, Hoffman seemed to have the most support in Cooperstown this weekend. Continuing to acknowledge the vast number of Padres fans in attendance he said, “Fifteen years in one spot, and that spot is San Diego. Jackpot!” He went on to say later in the speech, “I love San Diego, and I love being a Padre for life.”
Hearing such high praise for both a city and its fans that haven’t had much to cheer about this season, put a smile on Padres faithful in attendance.
Five others were also immortalized in Cooperstown as part of the 2018 Hall of Fame class. Alan Trammell and Jack Morris of Detroit, Chipper Jones of Atlanta, Jim Thome of Cleveland, and Vladimir Guerrero as the first player from the Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels.
During his speech Chipper Jones showed respect to the greatest closer of the era. “I hated facing you, bro,” Jones said. “Hated it. You had the most devastating change-up I’ve ever seen in my life.” According to baseball reference, over his career Jones went 5/22 with five strikeouts and a home run.
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Walking through the Hall of Fame the day before and seeing all the plaques of players such as Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial, Rollie Fingers, and Tony Gwynn demonstrates the elite fraternity that Hoffman has now joined.
Closing his speech Hoffman said, “To achieve true success, there are no shortcuts.”
Sitting in the crowd listening to Trevor’s speech was an emotional and heart-warming moment. Seeing all the Padres fans cheering for him as he was inducted was one of the greatest moments of the year for Padres fans. His emotion on stage, and the passion with which he spoke will long live in the hearts and minds of Padres fans.