Right before the start of the 1984 season, “Trader” Jack Mckeon picked up Graig Nettes from the New York Yankees in exchange for Dennis Rasmussen and Darin Cloninger.

Nettles was a home town guy, playing his high school ball at San Diego high school and going to college at San Diego State University. He was also the left-handed power bat and third baseman that the Padres desperately needed. Another veteran no-nonsense type player, like Nettles, meant the Padres clubhouse was going to have a different feel to it in 1984.

Graig Nettles was a fourth-round pick out of SDSU in 1965. The Minnesota Twins came calling, and off he went to start his professional career. Nettles lasted only three seasons in Minnesota and was dealt to the Cleveland Indians in a package deal for Luis Tiant.

Nettles had three decent seasons for the Indians but was dealt in 1973 to the Yankees. It was in New York that Nettles became a polished major league talent. He was a five-time All-Star for the Yankees and played a total of 11 seasons in the Bronx. He smashed 259 career home runs for the Yankees and played in over 1,500 games recording a .253 average. Nettles is a borderline Yankee legend.

The 1984 season was not Nettles best by any means, but 20 home runs from the third base position was a great thing for the Padres. He was the perfect platoon partner to the right-handed hitting Luis Salazar.

Nettles played in 124 games at the age of 39 and hit .228 with 20 home runs and 65 runs batted in. He had a scorching August that season with a .266 batting average and eight home runs and 13 runs batted in. He helped clinch the pennant with that August and, on September 17, 1984, his bloop triple scored the winning run in a walk-off 11 inning effort against the Cincinnati Reds.

Graig Nettles also had a battle with prostate cancer in 2007 and underwent surgery in early 2008. He is doing well and can still be seen at some Yankee and Padres functions. Nettles was a solid third baseman and still holds the record for assists in a single season (412 assists in the 1971 season).

Nettles, son Jeff, was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 47th round of the 1998 MLB draft. Jeff Nettles, a third baseman, shortstop and first baseman retired from baseball in 2012, falling short of his goal of reaching the major leagues.


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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