COACHES & BENCH
The 1984 team provided a lot of magic to the city of San Diego. Never before had a team from San Diego made it to the playoffs in baseball. Major League Baseball and its playoffs bring a type of excitement that can’t be rivaled by other sports.
Baseball playoffs are sometimes a week-long event for a city, with at least four separate games to be played. That type of environment can easily grow fans of a team for years to come.
Bench players like Kurt Bevacqua, Bobby Brown, Luis Salazar, Tim Flannery, Bruce Bochy, Champ Summers, and Mario Ramirez played essential roles in the championship run. Flannery was a scrappy table-setter that was used perfectly by manager Dick Williams. Bobby Brown, a swift switch-hitting batter was used as a late-inning defensive replacement. Bevacqua was a clubhouse leader and kept order in the Padres’ locker room.
Luis Salazar was a great compliment to Nettles at third base. Salazar was right-handed and a decent glove to boot. Sometimes the 39-year-old Nettles needed a day off. Understandable. Champ Summers was a dead fastball hitter, emphasis on dead. He could hit anyone’s fastball but was left baffled by off-speed pitches. Mario Ramirez was a defensive replacement up the middle. Not much of a bat, but a great glove to have on the bench.
This brings me to Bruce Bochy, who, along with Kevin McReynolds, was my favorite Padre player of the ’84 season. I can distinctly remember wanting Bochy to get more playing time because Kennedy wasn’t hitting. A 10-year old already critiquing the manager. Who would have known that Bruce Bochy would become one of the most talented managers in the history of the game. He guided the Padres to the 1998 World Series and has taken the San Francisco Giants to the championship of the world three out of the last five years.
Brash manager Dick Williams was known for getting the most out of his players while being totally unpredictable on the field. He wasn’t afraid to try new things and would do absolutely anything to beat you. Jack McKeon was the architect of the team and served the organization as general manager for the 1984 season. Williams coaching staff of Harry Dunlop, Jack Krol, Ozzie Virgil, Norm Sherry, and Deacon Jones helped transform the Padres into a winning franchise.