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Category Archives: Padres

Clarence Gaston – 1973 Topps #159

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ImageClarence Edwin “Cito” Gaston (born March 17, 1944) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder and manager. His major league career as a player lasted from 1967–1978, most notably for the San Diego Padres and the Atlanta Braves. His managerial career was with the Toronto Blue Jays where he became the first African-American manager in Major League history to win a World Series title. Primarily a center fielder, Gaston began his decade-long playing career in 1967 with the Atlanta Braves, appearing in nine games. The following year he was selected by the San Diego Padres in the expansion draft, first playing for them in 1969. He had his best individual season in 1970, when he batted Image.318 with 29 home runs, 92 runs scored and 93 RBI, and was selected to the National League All-Star team. The rest of Gaston’s career did not live up to his All-Star season success. Gaston never hit more than 17 home runs or knocked in more than 61 runs in any season with the Padres (until 1974) or the Braves (from 1975 until 1978).
Gaston was the manager for two American League All-Star teams since he was the manager of the championship American League franchise in 1992 and 1993. He was criticized for selecting six Blue Jays to the 1993 roster, but was unapologetic, stating all six were World Champions and two were future Hall of Famers.

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Pat Corrales – 1973 Topps #542


Patrick Corrales(born March 20, 1941 in Los Angeles, California), is a former catcher and manager in Major League Baseball who played from 1964–1973, primarily for the Cincinnati Reds, but also for the Philadelphia Phillies, St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres. Corrales spent nine years as a major league manager and finished with an overall record of 572-634 with the Texas Rangers, Phillies and Cleveland Indians. Corrales managed in both the National League and American League, and became only the fourth manager to manage in both leagues in the same season. He is the only manager ever to be fired while in first place; the Philadelphia Phillies fired him in 1983, and he was replaced by Paul Owens. Corrales is also the first major league manager of Mexican American descent. Since he retired from managing he has had a long career as a bench coach. He acted in that role for nine years with the Atlanta Braves, and was with Washington Nationals for the 2007 and 2008 seasons before being fired at the end of 2008 along with the majority of the Nationals’ coaching staff. Shortly after being fired, he accepted a job as a special consultant to the Nationals. He resumed as bench coach in July 2009 after Jim Riggleman was appointed acting manager after Manny Acta was fired. Corrales was once again appointed Nationals bench coach in June, 2011 by new Manager Davey Johnson. Corrales replaced John McLaren who had been reassigned to scouting duty.

Nate Colbert – 1973 Topps #340

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Nathan Colbert Jr. (born April 9, 1946 in St. Louis, Missouri), is a former American Major League Baseball player who was a first baseman with the Houston Astros (1966, 1968), San Diego Padres (1969–74), Detroit Tigers (1975), Montreal Expos (1975–76) and Oakland Athletics (1976). Signed by his hometown St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent in 1964, Colbert saw some action with the Houston Astros in 1966 and 1968 before being selected by the Padres in the December 1968 expansion draft. In 1969, the Padres’ inaugural season, and his first full season in the big leagues, Colbert hit 24 homers, which led the club in home runs, and drove in 66 runs while batting .255. He was a National League All-Star from 1971 to 1973. Colbert’s best day in the majors was August 1, 1972, when he slammed 5 home runs – one of two players to have done so – and drove in 13 runs in a doubleheader, breaking Stan Musial’s record of 11 runs batted in. Coincidentally, a young Nate had attended the game where Stan originally set the record. This helped the Padres sweep the Atlanta Braves, 9-0 and 11-7.
Colbert’s .508 slugging percentage, 87 runs, 286 total bases, 38 home runs, 111 RBIs, 70 walks, 67 extra-base hits, 14 intentional walks and 14.8 at bats per home run helped him finish eighth in voting for the NL MVP in 1972. He finished second only to the Cincinnati Reds’ Johnny Bench (40) in home runs that year. His 111 RBIs also set a record that still stands for driving in the highest percentage of his team’s runs. Throughout his career with the Padres from 1969 to 1974, he often was the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal San Diego lineup. After hitting .207 in 1974, he was traded to the Detroit Tigers in a three-way deal. Colbert also played for the Montreal Expos and Oakland Athletics before back problems forced his retirement at 30. Colbert played on nine consecutive last-place teams, from 1968–1976. Colbert is the San Diego Padres all-time home run leader with 163.

Mike Corkins – 1973 Topps #461

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Michael Patrick Corkins (born May 25, 1946, in Riverside, California) a former Major League Baseball pitcher. The right-hander was signed by the San Francisco Giants as an amateur free agent before the 1965 season, and later drafted by the San Diego Padres from the Giants as the 31st pick in the 1968 MLB expansion draft. He played for the Padres from 1969 to 1974. Corkins is best-known for giving up Willie Mays’s 600th home run. The majority of his 157 appearances was as a relief pitcher, but he did start 44 games. During his career, Corkins gave up 248 walks in just 459.1 innings pitched, for a BB/9IP of 4.86, much higher than the National League average at that time. However, with 335 strikeouts, his K/9IP was 6.56, which was higher than the National League average. Corkins wielded a strong bat (for a pitcher), hitting 5 home runs with a batting average of .202 in 119 lifetime at bats. He finished his career with a total of 19 wins, 28 losses, 9 saves, 48 games finished, and an ERA of 4.39. Corkins’ major league debut with San Diego was mentioned in pitcher Jim Bouton’s 1969 book, Ball Four. The book cites infielder Marty Martínez as yelling “Welcome to the National League, kid.” from the Houston Astros dugout during Corkins’ poor performance.

Derrel Thomas – 1973 Topps #57

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Derrel Osborn Thomas (born January 14, 1951) a former professional baseball player who played in Major League Baseball primarily as a second baseman, center fielder, and shortstop from 1971-85. He held the distinction of being one of a few players to have played every position (except pitcher) at least once in his career. Following his playing career, Thomas was the first manager of the Boise Hawks in 1987, then an independent team in the Class A Short Season Northwest League. As of 2009, he is a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization serving as a representative of the Dodgers Legend Bureau. Thomas is currently the head baseball coach at Adrenaline Athletic Training in Riverside, CA.

Gary Ross – 1973 Topps #112


Gary Douglas Ross(born September 16, 1947) is an American former professional baseball player, a right-handed pitcher in the Major Leagues from 1968–1977. He played for the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, and California Angels. Born in McKeesport, Pennsylvania, Ross stood 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and weighed 185 pounds (84 kg). Ross appeared in 283 Major League games, 59 as a starting pitcher. He lost a Padres’ club-record 11 consecutive decisions in 1969 when the expansion team lost a franchise-record 110 times, finishing 41 games out of first place. All told, he gave up 764 hits and 288 bases on balls in 713⅔ innings pitched, with seven saves and 378 strikeouts.

Rich Morales – 1974 Topps #387

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Richard Angelo Morales (Born September 20, 1943 San Francisco, California) was an infielder who played from 1967-1974. He played for the Chicago White Sox until early in the 1973 season; most of ’73 and all of 1974 were spent with the San Diego Padres. Morales played 480 games, starting 294. Of all non-pitchers since 1930 with 1000+ at-bats, Morales had a better batting average (.195) than only two, Ray Oyler and Mike Ryan, and a slugging average (.242) better than only Luis Gómez. After his playing career, Morales was a minor league manager for eight seasons, from 1979 until 1982 and from 1988 until 1991. He managed in the farm systems of the Oakland Athletics, Chicago Cubs, and Seattle Mariners.

Clarence Gaston – 1974 Topps #364

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Clarence Edwin “Cito” Gaston  (born March 17, 1944) is a former Major League Baseball outfielder and manager. His major league career as a player lasted from 1967–1978, most notably for the San Diego Padres and the Atlanta Braves. His managerial career was with the Toronto Blue Jays where he became the first African-American manager in Major League history to win a World Series title. Cito Gaston managed the Toronto Blue Jays from 1989 to 1997, and again from 2008 to 2010. During this time, he managed the Blue Jays to four Division Titles (1989, 1991, 1992 and 1993), two American League Pennants (1992 and 1993) and two World Series (1992 and 1993). Gaston was the manager for two American League All-Star teams since he was the manager of the championship American League franchise in 1992 and 1993. He was criticized for selecting six Blue Jays to the 1993 roster, but was unapologetic, stating all six were World Champions and two were future Hall of Famers. In the 1993 All-Star Game held at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, he was criticized for not getting Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina into the game. Mussina got up in the ninth inning to warm up in the bullpen. Mussina later claimed that he was simply doing a between-start workout, but some interpreted it was an attempt to force Gaston to put him into the game. As angry fans jeered in dismay, incredulous that Gaston would not use the popular local player and believing Mussina had been sent to warm up for no reason, Gaston instead allowed Blue Jays pitcher Duane Ward to close out the victory for the American League. Baltimore fans did not like this perceived snub, and T-shirts were sold outside of Camden Yards that season bearing the phrase, “Will Rogers never met Cito Gaston,” referencing the famous line by Will Rogers, “I never met a man yet that I didn’t like.”

Willie McCovey – 1976 Topps #520


Willie Lee McCovey (born January 10, 1938 in Mobile, Alabama), nicknamed “Mac”, “Big Mac”, and “Stretch”, is a former Major League Baseball first baseman. He played nineteen seasons for the San Francisco Giants, and three more for the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics, between 1959 and 1980. He batted and threw left-handed and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986. One of the most intimidating power hitters of his era, McCovey was called “the scariest hitter in baseball” by pitcher Bob Gibson, an assessment with which Reggie Jackson concurred. McCovey’s powerful swing generated 521 home runs, 231 of which he hit in Candlestick Park, the most hit there by any player, and included a home run of Sept. 16, 1966 described as the longest ever hit in that stadium. McCovey was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986. It was his first year of eligibility and he appeared on 346 of 425 ballots cast (81.4 percent). In 1999, he ranked 56th on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Since 1980, the Giants have awarded the Willie Mac Award to honor his spirit and leadership. The inlet of San Francisco Bay beyond the right field fence of AT&T Park, historically known as China Basin, has been redubbed McCovey Cove in his honor. Across McCovey Cove from the park a statue of McCovey was erected and the land on which it stands named McCovey Point. The Giants retired his uniform number 44, which he wore in honor of Hank Aaron, a fellow Mobile, Alabama native. McCovey was inducted to the Afro Sports Hall of Fame [www.afrosportshall.com ], February 7, 2009 in Oakland, California. The mission of the Afro Sports Hall of Fame is to broaden the public’s understanding of African American/Ethnic history and the role of diversity and   tolerance in the growth of professional sports.

Willie McCovey – 1974 Topps #250


Willie Lee McCovey (born January 10, 1938 in Mobile, Alabama), nicknamed “Mac”, “Big Mac”, and “Stretch”, is a former Major League Baseball first baseman. He played nineteen seasons for the San Francisco Giants, and three more for the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics, between 1959 and 1980. He batted and threw left-handed and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986. One of the most intimidating power hitters of his era, McCovey was called “the scariest hitter in baseball” by pitcher Bob Gibson, an assessment with which Reggie Jackson concurred. McCovey’s powerful swing generated 521 home runs, 231 of which he hit in Candlestick Park, the most hit there by any player, and included a home run of Sept. 16, 1966 described as the longest ever hit in that stadium. McCovey was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986. It was his first year of eligibility and he appeared on 346 of 425 ballots cast (81.4 percent). In 1999, he ranked 56th on The Sporting News’ list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Since 1980, the Giants have awarded the Willie Mac Award to honor his spirit and leadership. The inlet of San Francisco Bay beyond the right field fence of AT&T Park, historically known as China Basin, has been redubbed McCovey Cove in his honor. Across McCovey Cove from the park a statue of McCovey was erected and the land on which it stands named McCovey Point. The Giants retired his uniform number 44, which he wore in honor of Hank Aaron, a fellow Mobile, Alabama native. McCovey was inducted to the Afro Sports Hall of Fame [www.afrosportshall.com], February 7, 2009 in Oakland, California. The mission of the Afro Sports Hall of Fame is to broaden the public’s understanding of African American/Ethnic history and the role of diversity and  tolerance in the growth of professional sports.

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