Retired closer Trevor Hoffman inducted into Padres Hall of Fame

SAN DIEGO - Retired closer Trevor Hoffman was inducted into the Padres Hall of Fame during pre-game ceremonies Saturday afternoon at Petco Park.

Hoffman, who ranks second on the all-time saves list with 601 saves, 552 of them while wearing a San Diego uniform, was selected unanimously by a committee consisting of members of the local media and the Padres' front office.

Several fans shared a memory of watching one of the best closing pitchers of all time.

"We were here to see the save that he got that tied, the all-time saves record and that was just an exciting moment," Keith Carter said.

"He did a great job, and the Padres needed him and he was there when they needed him so he deserves it,” Sharon Roberts said.

Before the start of the game, a video tribute played showing some of the highlights of Hoffman's 16 years with San Diego.

The former player thanked fans for their support and said it is a surreal moment to look back at the player he was when he joined the team in 1993 and the records he set before retiring in 2011.

"It's one of those things that made sense to kind of just put your head down and just show up every day and try and do your best,"  Hoffman said.

He is the ninth person to be inducted into the Padres Hall of Fame, joining Buzzie Bavasi, Nate Colbert, Jerry Coleman, Tony Gwynn, Randy Jones, Ray Kroc, Dick Williams and Dave Winfield.

The converted shortstop was acquired from the Marlins in 1993 in exchange for star slugger Gary Sheffield and went on to compile a record of 54-64 in 16 seasons in San Diego, with a 2.76 ERA and 1,029 strikeouts.

"(Hoffman) was so easy to catch, but he was one of the most difficult pitchers to hit," said Carlos Hernandez, who caught and batted against him in the 1990s. "That four-seamer, you couldn't hit it. And if the count got to 3-
2, 2-2, 1-1, then that was change-up time. And if you got that, forget it."

Hoffman, who grew up in Orange County, was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds out of the University of Arizona in 1989, and taken by the then-Florida Marlins in the 1992 expansion draft. The Padres traded slugger Gary Sheffield and pitcher Rich Rodriguez to the Marlins in 1993 for Hoffman, and pitchers Andres Berumen and Jose Martinez.

He quickly became a fan favorite by wrapping up victories and performing community services, for which he has received numerous awards. He now coordinates pitchers for Padres affiliates in the higher levels of the minor leagues.

The induction ceremonies took place before a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Fans in attendance received a Padres mesh hat.

It serves as a high point in an otherwise dark year for the Padres -- who have suffered the deaths of Coleman and Gwynn, and fired their general manager following the slow start to another season.

This week, team management was blind-sided by negative fan reaction to the the naming of a plaza at Petco Park after longtime Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig.

Fans say honoring Hoffman was the perfect opportunity to get together to celebrate something positive this season.

"This is a chance to actually celebrate something that's good about the Padres," Carter said.

There is now talk of Hoffman being inducted into Major League Baseball's hall of fame in 2016.

"That would be a dream come true … certainly something I didn't think about, wouldn't allow myself to think about as a player," Hoffman said.

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