The 2019 Major League Baseball season inches closer by the minute.
Fans are so close to watching the San Diego Padres open at Petco Park against the San Francisco Giants.
This season, the Padres are celebrating their 50th anniversary. The franchise will pay homage to all the teams, players, special moments and celebrations since 1969.
In fact, the Padres opened at Qualcomm Stadium 21 years ago against a National League Central team. On April 7, 1998, San Diego hosted the Cincinnati Reds after playing their first six games on the road. Three of those games were at Cincinnati.
Joey Hamilton made the start for San Diego on April 7. He ran into some early trouble, giving up two runs in the first inning. Eduardo Nunez and Reggie Sanders each drove in a run in that first inning.
The score remained 2-0 for most of the game. The Padres had trouble scoring any runs against Pete Harnisch. He scattered four hits over eight innings pitched, striking out four.
Harnisch was relieved by Jeff Shaw in the ninth inning, and that’s when the Padres finally broke through. Carlos Hernandez hit a 2-run home run with two outs in the ninth inning. His blast forced extra innings.
That win was the beginning of a sweep over Cincinnati. In the second game, Greg Vaughn went deep in the first inning for what was his first of 50 home runs that season. Wally Joyner also homered, and the Padres won the game 6-3. San Diego finished the sweep on April 9. Ken Caminiti hit a 3-run home run in the seventh inning off Ricardo Jordan. The Padres won the game 6-3.
Fans can expect to see several looks back at the 1998 season. The whole season was special. The Padres won 98 games and captured their second NL pennant in franchise history.
The season had plenty of special moments. One of them was Hernandez’s 2-run blast in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. That set the table for an Opening Day win.