Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.Although Trevor Hoffman had 552 saves as a Padre, his milestone 600th save came as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers -- near the end of the 2010 season and the closer's storied career.
Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.
Although Trevor Hoffman had 552 saves as a Padre, his milestone 600th save came as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers -- near the end of the 2010 season and the closer's storied career.
"It took me a while to get the 600th," Hoffman said recently. "But the Brewers wanted it to happen, too."
Sadly, as every Padre fan knows, Hoffman was not allowed to finish his career as a Padre. When he became a free agent after the 2008 season, the Milwaukee Brewers signed Hoffman after then Padres management let the future Hall of Famer walk.
Hoffman had a stellar season with the Brewers in 2009, posting the second-lowest earned run average of his career (1.83) while recording 37 saves to move to within nine of becoming the first closer to reach the milestone "600" saves figure.
But Hoffman, who was 42 at the time, struggled at the start of the 2010 season and lost his closing job to John Axford with the Brewers.
"I felt it coming in May of 2010," said Hoffman. "Every player faces the end, it's the part of the game."
After losing Milwaukee's closer job to Axford, Hoffman pitched in a setup role. He picked up his fifth save of the season on May 7. But he also had five blown saves at the time and his ERA was an un-Hoffman-like over five. He didn't record his sixth save of the season - and No. 597 of his career -- until Aug. 7.
But as the final days of Hoffman's career counted down, the Brewers and manager Ken Macha were well aware of the No. 600. Hoffman was returned to sharing the closer's role.
He got his 598th save on Aug. 18 and No. 599 on Aug. 29.
The milestone fell to Hoffman Sept. 7, 2016, in a 4-2 win over the Cardinals at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Colby Rasmus opened the top of the ninth with a single. But St. Louis pinch-hitter Randy Winn grounded into a doubleplay. Then pinch-hitter Aaron Miles grounded out to shortstop Craig Counsell.
No. 600 was in the books at 9:57 p.m. in Milwaukee. Hoffman's Milwaukee teammates carried him off the field.
Unbeknownst to Hoffman, the feat was also celebrated at Petco Park, where the Padres were playing the Dodgers. Video of Hoffman's 600th save was shown on the video board. The flames went off. Fans rose to applaud an achievement accomplished 1,750 miles away.
"That is pretty cool to know that," said Hoffman, who recorded the 601st and final save of his career on Sept. 29, 2010.