Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres. There was a method to Trevor Hoffman's madness. For most of his career, the Hall of Fame closer was usually the first to enter the Padres' clubhouse on a game day and the last to leave.Hoffman
Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.
There was a method to Trevor Hoffman's madness. For most of his career, the Hall of Fame closer was usually the first to enter the Padres' clubhouse on a game day and the last to leave.
Hoffman would arrive for night games between 1:15 and 1:30 p.m. And he wouldn't depart until around 1 the following morning.
"I know," he joked recently. "I'd be leaving the clubhouse the day of the next game."
There is no question that Hoffman liked being around the atmosphere of the baseball clubhouse.
"I loved hanging around with my teammates," he said. "That is one of the great things about being a ballplayer -- the people. I enjoyed being in the clubhouse."
But there were other reasons why Hoffman was typically the first to arrive and the last to leave -- most notably his strenuous pregame and postgame workout schedule.
Plus, on many afternoons after day games and evenings after night games during the summer, Hoffman and his three sons would play Wiffle ball inside the clubhouse after other players had departed.
"After games, I'd need time to ramp down," Hoffman said. "The boys were part of that. When we were home, that was some of our together time ... great memories, playing Wiffle ball on the clubhouse floor."
The early arrival to his 12-hour day was calculated by another aspect of his baseball regimen.
The depth of Hoffman's daily pregame workouts was known throughout baseball. There was the running, the stretching, the lifting, the stress work ... drills to improve the cardio and the core, plus drills to "get rid of the stiffness."
Hoffman worked hard. But that hard work required time after every workout to let his body recover for that day's game.
"I needed to get my work done by a certain time so that my body could recover for the game," said Hoffman. "That meant I had to start early. It was after my work that I'd try to relax and enjoy my teammates as they completed their own programs around batting practice. It wasn't the time working out as much as the time after the workout to rejuvenate everything for the game."
After the game, Hoffman was not one of those who could just flip the switch off. He followed a program to "ramp down" that on the best days included watching the boys.
In that 2002 Sports Illustrated article about Hoffman, the late Padres general manager Kevin Towers said about Hoffman: "I'll tell you one thing about Trevor. He doesn't just close games, he closes the clubhouse. He's the first one in and the last out every day."
Do the math. Eighteen seasons ... 162 games a year plus Spring Training ... up to 12 hours a day ...
"It might seem like a lot of time, but they were meaningful times," said Hoffman. "A lot of my best memories come from outside the framework of the playing of each game. I spent a lot of valued hours in the clubhouse with my teammates, friends and my sons."