Yesterday the baseball Hall of Fame announced their 2018 inductees. Four former players were voted in along with former Detroit Tigers Alan Trammell and Jack Morris. Congratulations to the four players selected were Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome, and Trevor Hoffman. I just realized yesterday that I was fortunate enough to get to see all four play in person. All of a sudden there are players getting into the Hall of Fame that I have watched play their entire careers.
I wanted to focus today on Trevor Hoffman who was the San Diego Padres closer from 1994-2009 and becomes the 6th reliever to reach the Hall of Fame. He saved 40 or more games – 9 different seasons and was a seven time All Star. He ranks first among relievers in hits allowed per nine innings with 6.989. Hoffman had a career high 53 saves in 1998.
In 2004 our annual baseball trip was to San Diego and my first time seeing Hoffman play live. My friend Jeanine and I went to see the Padres play the Dodgers and I remember thinking when I woke up that day that all I wanted was to see a close game. If it was a close game then we’d get to see Trevor Hoffman take the mound. I had been dreaming of being able to see Hoffman run in from the bullpen complete with AC/DC’s Hells Bells blaring . The baseball gods smiled upon me that day and I got my wish. Not only were we able to see a close game, with a 2-1 Padres victory but we were able to see Hoffman. The Trevor Time introduction was better than I had imagined.
Try to picture this – it was a Saturday night game with lots of Dodger fans in the crowd hoping for a late inning rally and getting a little lippy with Padre fans. You could see Padre fans starting to sweat a little about holding on to this win. Then it was like the ballpark lost power, the place went pitch black and all the scoreboards come back on with flames on them, you hear the slow toll of church bells and a guitar starts grinding as the entire ballpark glows fire engine red.
PETCO Park had literally transformed into hell. It was amazing! Such an intimidating sight to see. If I was the on deck batter I would have turned and run back into the dugout. Needless to say Padre fans were up on their feet screaming and yelling and ready for victory. Their confidence in winning quickly returned when Hoffman came running in from the bullpen.
Whoever created that intro should get an award. Kudos to the Padres marketing team as this was something I felt like every baseball fan should have seen. So cool and yet intimidating, really just iconic. It doesn’t work for every player or every situation but that night it was electric. When you know that guy running in from the bullpen is a guarantee there is no better feeling. Que the scoreboards and the music and it becomes easy to turn to the Dodger fan next to you with a smile because you know it’s Trevor time.