Friars prepare to honor 1998 NL champions
Gwynn, Caminiti, Hoffman, Vaughn bobblehead giveaways, throwback uniforms give nod to Padres' pennant
Members of the Padres' 1998 National League Champion team will be in San Diego during the four-game weekend series against the Cardinals to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the second pennant in franchise history.
But four key members of that record-setting team will sadly be missing. Third baseman Ken Caminiti died on Oct. 10, 2004. Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn passed away on June 16, 2014, after a long battle with parotid cancer. Bench coach Rob Picciolo passed away suddenly this past Jan. 3. And 27 days after Picciolo passed away, general manager Kevin Towers died after a 14-month fight against anaplastic thyroid cancer.
All four will be remembered during the four-day remembrance of the special 1998 season.
On Thursday, fans in attendance at Petco Park will receive a bobblehead of Gwynn that mimics the follow-through swing of his historic homer in the Game 1 of the 1998 World Series at Yankee Stadium -- an at-bat that Gwynn said was the "best moment" of my career.
On Friday, fans will receive a bobblehead capturing Caminiti diving to his left to snare a line drive. And on Sunday, fans will receive a bobblehead of Greg Vaughn peering toward the left-field stands as he completes the follow-through on one of the club-record 50 homers he hit in 1998.
Saturday marks the marquee event of the weekend.
The current Padres will be wearing 1998 throwback uniforms with blue patches with the letters "KT" and "RP" in orange to honor the passing of Towers and Picciolo. The patches will be worn five more times during the season, on Wednesdays between June 6 and Aug. 29.
Towers, who spent half of his 56 years in the Padres' organization as a Minor Leaguer, a scout, the scouting director and the longest-tenured general manager (1995-2009), will posthumously become the 15th member of the Padres' Hall of Fame during a pregame induction ceremony. Towers was the architect behind the 1998 Padres.
Saturday's bobblehead giveaway is of Trevor Hoffman delivering a pitch with his signature high leg kick during his franchise-record, 53-save season in 1998. It marks the first commemorative giveaway offered by the Padres to celebrate Hoffman's July 29 induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.
Hoffman chose to share Saturday night with Towers' induction into the Padres' Hall of Fame.
Fans are asked to be in their seats by 5:10 p.m. PT to enjoy the pregame ceremonies that will include a celebration of the 1998 team and Towers' induction.
The 1998 Padres won 98 games during the regular season to claim their third National League West title (and second in three seasons). The Padres defeated the Astros and Braves in the playoffs to win their second National League championship.
Tickets to this weekend's celebration are still available and can be purchased on padres.com.