SAN DIEGO -- Jack McKeon remembers every trade he ever made.At least, as he reflected on his career Saturday after he became the 14th member of the Padres Hall of Fame, McKeon made it seem that way. Known as "Trader Jack" for the deals he swung as San Diego's general
SAN DIEGO -- Jack McKeon remembers every trade he ever made.
At least, as he reflected on his career Saturday after he became the 14th member of the Padres Hall of Fame, McKeon made it seem that way. Known as "Trader Jack" for the deals he swung as San Diego's general manager from 1980-90, McKeon, 86, constructed the 1984 National League champion Padres. He also spent parts of three years as both the team's GM and manager, from 1988-90.
"It's great to be back in San Diego," McKeon said. "Really, it's a thrill. Me and my family, we talk about it all the time, how wonderful it was here and the hospitality the people showed me and the love and support. I've been to a lot of cities, but we never lived in any cities like we lived in San Diego."
McKeon said his induction in front of the Petco Park crowd marked his first time in San Diego since visiting during a stint as the Marlins' manager in 2011. McKeon had previously managed the Marlins from 2003-05, winning the World Series in his first year. He also managed the Royals, A's and Reds.
Asked to compare his trip to the World Series with the Padres and his victory in the World Series with Florida, McKeon said both made an impact on his career.
"The two things I really cherish and look at as turning points were putting together a team in '84 and then winning the World Series in 2003," McKeon said. "[People ask me], 'Do you like to be a general manager? Do you like to be a manager?' I liked both of them."
McKeon joined a group including Tony Gwynn, Trevor Hoffman and Randy Jones in the Padres Hall of Fame.
"The No. 1 overall thing in his career is that he is a baseball man," said Jones, who played for the Padres from 1973-80. "He had a 'we're going to win' attitude. It wasn't 'we're just going to go through the motions' here in San Diego."
McKeon retains his wit, as well as a strong sense of the past. On Saturday, he recalled the trades he made involving Ozzie Smith, Garry Templeton and Terry Kennedy.
He also had a message for fans of a Padres organization that's presently rebuilding.
"You've got a beautiful city, you've got a nice ballpark, you've got some talent over on that team, but you've got to be patient with them," McKeon said. "It's going to take time. A few additions here and there, these young kids start to get lucky, like Tony Gwynn and those guys [in 1998], and all of a sudden, you're back in the playoffs, hopefully."
By getting to spend a decade in San Diego, McKeon feels lucky.
"Something about this city is special," McKeon said. "I felt like this was the turning point in my career, when I came to San Diego."
Nathan Ruiz is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego.