Sometimes it takes a few decades and a good friend to mend regrets from the past. Such was the case for Danny Boone, who pitched for the Padres in the early 1980s but didn’t keep a jersey to show for it.
Boone is a seventh-generation nephew of the iconic frontiersman Daniel Boone and appears to have inherited his tenacity.
Danny Boone gave everything he had to the game of baseball.
His MLB experience includes stints with the 1981-82 Padres and an improbable comeback in 1990 as a knuckleballer with the Baltimore Orioles.
Boone made his MLB debut with the Padres in 1981 as one of the smallest men in baseball, measuring in at 5′ 8″ and 132 lbs. He made 37 relief appearances that season and recorded an ERA of 2.84.
Tim Flannery, a teammate of Boone’s on the 1981 squad, told me not to be fooled by Boone’s stature.
Danny Boone was a fierce competitor. I faced him in college and played behind him in the big leagues – overachiever like I was, so I pulled hard for him.
His heart was as big as any ballpark he played in. Word.
TKF interview with Tim Flannery, 11/30/21
In 1982, Boone pitched 10 games for the Padres before being traded to Houston. He bounced between the major and minor leagues for a few years before offers from MLB teams dried up.
Boone returned home to San Diego and worked in construction to support his wife Marge and their three daughters.
He also played ball in independent leagues on weekends and worked on perfecting a pitch that would eventually earn him another chance in the big leagues: the knuckleball.
At age 36, Boone was offered a minor league contract by the Baltimore Orioles in 1990. “You’re kidding,” Marge said when Boone told his wife of the offer. But there was no hesitation by either as Boone quickly signed on the dotted line. (The Washington Post, 3/28/90)
Boone appeared in four late-season games for the Orioles in 1990 and posted a 2.79 ERA. Boone’s comeback ended the next year.
In 2018, Randy Jones told a reporter at a Padres alumni event that it seemed like Boone never really stopped playing ball because he kept hearing about Boone pitching in weekend leagues as the years and decades went by. “Even talking to him today, it looks like the notion is still there that he thinks he can pitch,” Jones said. (mlb.com, 9/19/18)
Boone has been living quietly in the San Diego area since his baseball career ended. He owns a cabinetry business. He goes to Skyline Church on Sundays. It was there that he met Marcos Carvajal.
Carvajal, a lifelong Padres fan and youth baseball coach, has had many conversations about baseball with Boone, including watching games together at Petco Park.
A few months ago, Carvajal posted on social media about a surprise he had in the works for Boone:
I’m real good friends with a retired player that lives here in San Diego. He played for the Padres in ’81 & ’82.
I was asking him about his jerseys and his face changed immediately from happy to sad in an instant. He began telling me that when he was sent down, they were on the road and never had the chance to get all his gear before leaving.
My question: Is there any way possible to get a “Brown, Orange and Gold” jersey with his name and number? I would love to be able to put that smile back on his face.
Marcos Carvajal, San Diego Padres Fan Club (Facebook), 9/21/21
After inquiries with the Padres led to “good luck” wishes but no jersey, Carvajal launched a GoFundMe campaign. His goal was to raise money directly from Padres fans so that a jersey could be custom-ordered for Boone.
The fans came through. A total of $519 was raised in the campaign, and an order was placed with Custom Throwback Jerseys. Carvajal was able to outfit Boone with both “home” and “away” jerseys, a throwback cap, and a “home” jersey for Boone’s wife.
The gear arrived just in time for Christmas.
And just like that, Boone has made another comeback. This time it was the fans who brought him back. See you at the yard, Danny Boone.
Mostly here to promote fun baseball! My focus is on our experiences as fans and shared connections in the baseball community. I also produce content on social media, including vlogs and event coverage. Instagram: Michelle_baseballfan247 Facebook: Michelle Frost; Member: IBWAA, SABR