Padres HOF'er class of 1999 Nate Colbert on Padres' early years
With Saturday's Hall of Fame inductions taking center stage at Petco Park this weekend, one would be remiss not to include Nate Colbert, a member of the team's 1999 inaugural class of HOF inductees. Fortunately, the three-time All-Star and original Padres first baseman was able to stop by Padres Social Hour before Saturday's festivities to discuss and recount the early years of Padres baseball.
Colbert, who still holds the record for career home runs as a Padre at 163 between 1969 and 1974, recalled how the old layout of then-San Diego Stadium affected play in the team's infancy.
"It was 420 feet out to center and the walls were 17-feet high," said Colbert, "so one of the things that helped the ballpark [was] bringing in the fences, which was good, but they kind of closed it in on center field and it knocked [the wind down] and balls started getting out of that ballpark."
Colbert started his Major League career in 1966, before the Padres became an expansion team in 1969, and his call to join the Padres during the 1968 expansion draft is something that he certainly remembers.
"I stayed up all night [during that draft], and … at about 2 in the morning, I was told I didn't show up on the wire. There were four expansion teams -- Montreal, San Diego, Seattle and Kansas City -- and I prayed for San Diego. So the next morning, I was called at about 8 in the morning and told, 'Welcome to the San Diego Padres!' It was an unbelievable experience."
To hear more about Colbert's career in San Diego and the early days of the Padres as they moved from the Pacific Coast League to the Majors, watch the entire interview in the video above. For more interviews, highlights and Padres content like this, check out padres.com/socialhour.