Remembering the 1984 San Diego Padres

Credit: AP Photo

Credit: AP Photo


The San Diego Padres pitching staff in 1984 was not flashy by any means. Right-handed pitchers Ed Whitson and Eric Show anchored the staff, while lefties Tim Lollar and Mark Thurmond occupied the 3rd and 4th spot.

The fifth spot was a rotation between Dave Dravecky and Andy Hawkins. The team didn’t have one fireball pitcher in the starting staff. Tim Lollar was probably the hardest thrower, but you could hardly describe him as a fireball fastball pitcher.

Ed Whitson was a crafty veteran pitcher with a nice little sinker and an assortment of pitches. His out pitch was his palm ball or a variation of a change-up. Eric Show was a competitor, he didn’t have overpowering stuff, but wasn’t afraid to attack hitters. He also had a great pickoff move and was very hard to steal a base from.

Eric Show also swung the bat very well and was used as a pinch hitter by Dick Williams on many occasions. Mark Thurmond was a light throwing left-hander that relied on location over stuff to go along with a great off-speed arsenal.

The bullpen was a successful combination of Craig Lefferts and Goose Gossage.

Credit: AP Photo

Lefferts was a left-handed specialist with a tricky screwball and a decent slider. The most memorable thing about Craig Lefferts was his flat-out sprint to the pitching mound from the bullpen when called to the game. That sight was a fan favorite thing to behold. I can remember being in the Murph watching him sprint across the field, with the crowd going nuts. A pretty cool thing for a guy who was a setup man. This was in the days where setup men were not appreciated as vastly.

Rich “Goose” Gossage provided stability in the end that resulted in 25 saves that season for the Padres. Gossage also recorded ten wins out of the bullpen that season for the Friars. His 2.90 ERA and 84 strikeouts were key to the Padres’ success. Lefferts was 3-4 in 1984 with a 2.13 ERA and ten saves. This dynamic duo was significant for the Padres. Gossage is a 2008 Hall-of-Fame member, receiving 85.8% of the vote.

Not to be forgotten are Greg Booker, a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher who amassed a 3.30 ERA in 1984. Booker later served first as Padres bullpen coach, then a season plus as the Padres pitching coach. From 1997-2003 he was a coach in the Padres organization. Booker died in early 2019 at the age of 58 from complications related to cancer.

Luis DeLeon, Greg Harris, Floyd Chiffer, and Sid Monge made up the rest of the bullpen for the Padres. Harris had a decent ERA of 2.70 but only got into 19 games. That era of baseball was much different, starting pitchers went seven innings almost all the time. Middle relievers were not needed as much, plain and simple.


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3 thoughts on “Remembering the 1984 San Diego Padres

  1. I just happened upon this article and I’ve got those memories coming back too. I was a 21-yr old punk rocker and surfer from Pacific Beach. I was also a pretty good pitcher and have loved baseball all my life.
    I remember traffic just stopped on Ingraham St where I lived and people getting out of their cars to celebrate with the other motorists. Neighbors all running out of their apartments and houses. The whole city was partying!
    What I remember the most was Tony Gwynn. Seemingly every damn day, 3 for 5, 3 for 5, 4 for 5, 2 for 4, and on and on. I’ve always been a big box score nut and every morning I’d have to get the San Diego Union and I’d go straight to the boxes and straight to Tony Gwynn’s line. Even if I already knew what he had! He was truly one of the greatest hitters of all time. Top 10, easily.
    I miss surfing Blacks Beach every day at dawn, and I miss watching Tony Gwynn hit the ball wherever he wanted to put it. He could hit it into a bucket.
    Cheers, Joey Coma.

  2. Great write-up. Brings back a lot of memories. I went to more games that year than any year before or after, or ever will.

    Yesterday I watched the 5th game of the playoffs with the Cubs (on Youtube). I never saw it on TV before as I was fortunate to be in the front row, right above Florence Henderson before she sang the National Anthem (the tickets for that game were easier to get because no one thought they would make it to game 5 after losing the first 2).

    To me, the smash by Tony Gwynn through/over Ryne Sandberg was more important than Garvey’s HR the game before, yet Steverino gets all the cred.

    In fact, Garvey was average at best. He had about a net 1.5 WAR over 5 years! That is 0.3 WAR per year, as the highest paid player. Yet he batted 3rd or 4th! This seems eerily similar to Hosmer………

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