The Bench and Coaching Staff
Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff were vital to the Padres’ success that season. Bochy is well-known as a player’s manager. That being said, veteran players traditionally perform well under Bruce Bochy. He knows how to motivate his players and get the most out of them. Bochy also understands the importance of team-baseball and playing as a cohesive group, not as an individual unit. His knowledge of the game is well-known, and he is a lock as an MLB Hall-Of-Fame manager. Winning three out of the five World Series titles with the San Francisco Giants assures that.
In 1998, the Padres coaching staff had a bulldog as their pitching coach. Dave Stewart was well-known for having swagger and bravado like Kevin Brown. He expected the best out of his players, as he always played the game hard. Stewart was intimidating on the mound, and he gave the Padres’ pitchers excellent schooling on how to be a competitor.
Merv Rettenmund was the hitting coach, and he had an exceptional bond with Tony Gwynn. Having Gwynn on your roster was essentially like having two hitting coaches, and Rettenmund was more than happy to share his hitting philosophies with whoever wanted to hear them. Rob Picciolo was the Padres’ bench coach, and Greg Booker was the bullpen coach. The coaches on the field were Tim Flannery at third base and Davey Lopes at first base. Flannery and Bochy are lifelong friends and very close. Flannery took his act to San Francisco and also won three World Series as the Giants’ third-base coach. He retired after the 2014 season.
The 1998 Padres had a deep bench. Greg Myers and Jim Leyritz backed up Carlos Hernandez at catcher and provided above-average bats from both sides of the plate. John Vander Wal and Mark Sweeney were utilized from the left-hand side, and the Padres had Archi Cianfrocco and Andy Sheets from the right side. Sheets backed up Gomez at shortstop, and for Veras at second from time to time.
Other players participated in the Padres’ 1998 championship. Ben Davis, the young catcher, had one at-bat in 1998, I guess that counts. Ed Giovanola, Eddie Williams, James Mouton, and George Arias also played in a handful of games that season for the Padres. Giovanola played in 92 games and stepped up to the plate 139 times. He played second base and third base for the Padres. A local product from Hoover High School, Eddie Williams, got 21 major league at-bats in 1998 for the Padres. Mouton batted 63 times, playing backup outfield, and Arias received 36 at-bats in 1998. These guys were bit players but still deserve recognition for their efforts.
It was a pleasure to bring this remembrance of the 1998 Padres. Please leave some comments of your thoughts on this team.