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Where've you gone, Kurt Bevacqua?
08/15/2002 11:29 AM ET
SAN DIEGO -- While it certainly doesn't rival "The Shot Heard 'Round the World," Kurt Bevacqua's home run in Game 2 of the 1984 World Series certainly sent shockwaves through Jack Murphy Stadium and beyond.

Bevacqua's homer off Detroit's Dan Petry helped the San Diego Padres overcome a 3-0 deficit and beat the Tigers 5-3 to even the Series at a game apiece.

Unfortunately for Padres fans, it would be the only World Series victory that year, and it is still the only World Series victory in the Padres' 33-year history.

Kurt Bevacqua had three hits, including a homer, in Game 2 of the '84 World Series.
Bevacqua, afforded the opportunity to play because the designated hitter was in effect the entire series, hit .417 (7-for-17) with two doubles, two homers and four RBIs in that World Series.

The entire 1984 season, in which the Padres won their first division title and came back from an 0-2 deficit to beat the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series, was so memorable that Bevacqua has 1-9-8-4 as part of one of his phone numbers.

"It makes it easier to remember," said Bevacqua.

Bevacqua still has fond memories of the '84 World Series and the memorable season as a whole.

"As a child we'd be playing stickball in the street or Wiffle Ball in the backyard and we'd go through the line and we'd know every guy and pretend we were them when we got to the plate," recalled Bevacqua. "Baseball has naturally changed a lot. [But] you always dream of being in a situation where you're playing in the World Series. And to actually get into the World Series and make a difference, whether it's a game or two or a whole World Series is really immaterial. It's just a matter of being there."

While Bevacqua's first Series home run turned out to be a game winner, his second in Game 5 pulled the Padres to within a run. But Kirk Gibson hit a three-run homer off Goose Gossage and that, as Bevacqua said, "pretty much put the icing on the cake."

Bevacqua talked about the great chemistry on the Padres' 1984 team.

"It was really a situation where we played as a team and everyone rooted for one another," Bevacqua said. "All good winning baseball teams have good chemistry. Very seldom are you going to run into a situation where you're going to have players bickering and a successful team."

Bevacqua isn't hitting too many baseballs these days, but he is hitting plenty of golf balls.

Bevacqua is a member of the board of directors and the president of the Celebrity Players Tour. He's also a competitor.

Bevacqua recorded two top 20 finishes in 2000 on the CPT, tying for 18th at the Duke Children's Classic and placing 15th at the Dodge Celebrity Invitational. He won the team portion of the 1999 Central Baptist Hospital Charity Classic with partner Jim McMahon.

The 15-year Major League veteran, a three handicap, won the La Costa Club Championship at La Costa, Calif., in 1997. He's also won the Richard Karn ("Home Improvement") Celebrity Classic twice.

It was at La Costa where he met his wife, Cynthia, on the first tee when they were paired together for a round. They were married in August of 1998 and live at La Costa with four children: Tony, Natalie, Tawney and Garrett.

In addition to his work with the Celebrity Players Tour, Bevacqua owns a company called Major League Protection Systems that sells aftermarket products to car dealers, including security systems, mobile videos and a navigational systems.

As for Bevacqua's Major League Baseball career, it started in 1967 with the Cincinnati Reds, who drafted the two-time Junior College All-American. Bevacqua went on to play for several other big-league teams, including Cleveland, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Texas and San Diego. He had two stints with the Padres: 1979-80 and 1982-1985.

In 1977 he batted .333 with five home runs in just 96 at-bats with the Rangers. That same year, he showed his versatility by playing five different positions.

"That 1977 season really started to turn my career around," Bevacqua said. "I started to get my confidence. And everything stayed at a pretty even keel after that."

He saw his most playing time in 1979 with the Padres, appearing in 114 games and batting .253 in 297 at-bats. He led the National League in pinch-hitting for two years and finished 9th on the all-time career pinch-hit list.

In addition to his pinch-hitting prowess, Bevacqua was one of the league's better "bench jockeys." And it may well have been his verbal exchange with Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda that may have kindled the baseball rivalry between the Padres and Dodgers in the early 1980s.

It all began when Dodgers reliever Tom Niedenfuer was fined $500 for hitting a San Diego batter.

Bevacqua told the press: "They ought to fine that fat little Italian, too. He ordered it."

Lasorda was then asked his opinion of Bevacqua's comment. He talked for about a minute, slowly denying any involvement, then or ever, with beaning anybody. But then he warmed up and said: "Bevacqua? Bevacqua? He couldn't hit water if he fell out of a bleeping boat. If I was pitching when Bevacqua was playing I'd have sent a taxi to the airport to make sure he got to the park."

"Oh sure, it's a great quote," Bevacqua said. "It's great that we developed a pretty good rivalry with the Dodgers in the early 1980s. Really up until then the rivalry was pretty much one-sided and some people looked at the Padres as laughingstocks. But it changed then and I'm happy to have had a part in that.

"As for Tommy, over the years we've become friends," Bevacqua said. "And I am glad to say that the rivalry between the Padres and Dodgers has grown over the years and is alive and well today."

Sandy Burgin covers the Padres for MLB.com and can be reached at sandyburgin@hotmail.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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