Padres Canon: Adrian vs. Garvey

Padres Canon: Adrian vs. Garvey

This is the second conversation in the important series #PadresCanon by Nicholas Burmeister AKA @padreshaiku and I. Again, we are not trying to decide who should be in the Padres Hall of Fame. This is more of a discussion of who/what represents the most Padresness. It’s a work in progress, like the rest of lives. Help us out and tell us what you think!

NICHOLAS MCCANN (August 3rd 2015 9:30am)

Dear Haiku,

We have a problem. It’s pretty clear Adrian Gonzalez and Steve Garvey are worthy of being in the Padres Canon. However, I can’t have them both in. I won’t allow it. They are both significant Padres, but with the way things are going they will both share a majority of their careers with the Dodgers. They both played five years with the Padres. Adrian, the local boy who couldn’t stay, never had a significant post season moment. Steve Garvey on the other hand did, but we all know that if he were to make the Hall of Fame it would be as a Dodger. I’m torn. Help. This is important.

NICK BURMEISTER (August 3rd 2:39pm)


It’s taken me awhile to respond to this both because this match-up gives me strong feelings, and…you know…work and the baby and stuff.

Remember when we had a great bullpen? One of the best I can remember was 2010, Gregorson, Adams, and Bell made a nine inning game a six inning game which kept the Padres in contention until the last game of that year. The Padres lost that game to the Giants who would eventually win the World Series. (The Padres owned the Giants that year but couldn’t win when it mattered) I remember that game really well, I remember Adrian Gonzalez not getting too many chances to be a hero, but not having a stand out moment either. For me, that’s the game that cemented what Adrian was for the Padres. He couldn’t be a scapegoat, but he wasn’t a hero. Let’s be real, if he wasn’t from south bay and TJ we’d be having this conversation about Garvey and Nevin. I know he’s number two in home runs for the Padres behind Colbert (100% Canon) but does Adrian have anything but a bunch of homers on his Padres resume? I’m a hard no to Adrian.

Garvey is a Dodger.

Choosing between the two is hard for me but if I have to pick one it would be Garv. “Home Run Garvey! And there will be tomorrow!” is one of the most exciting calls in Padre history. I’d say number two. He made that happen, he was the hero, and San Diegans loved him for it. He was our guy, if but for a little while. I’m not sure about his number on the batters eye, but he’s canon. If he’s not canon, I’d like to nominate Steve Garvey’s tree trunk forearms! Honestly, they’re huge, like Popeye size.

NICHOLAS MCCANN (August 4th 1:32pm)

I agree with you. There really isn’t any way around it. It seems that if things play out as they are now, Garvey has to be in over Adrian. If Adrian makes a few more postseasons with the Dodgers (assuming Kershaw doesn’t keep choking) this conversation will drift away from even being close to in play. However, the only chance Adrian has to take the Padres Canon away from Steve Garvey is if he ever came back to the Padres later in his 30s and was part of some kind of magical run. I could see this happening. It’s actually something that I think about a lot. The We Get Adrian Back When He’s Busted narrative is still in play.

Garvey has the moment but Adrian has the significance of the trade that sent him away and what that meant at the time. Steve just finished his career here, had some fun times, and got a bunch of people pregnant. Adrian’s departure meant we were going nowhere. If he ever came back he might have a chance. And there will be tomorrow.

NICK BURMEISTER (August 4th 5:54pm)

I’d rather not put either in the Canon really. That Gonzo/Rizzo trade was so bad for the Padres.

That Hoyer-Byrnes era really devastated the team… a team that can’t really have devastation like that. It’s one thing when the Yankees blow a quarter billion on some bust or when the Dodgers went through the McCourt divorce. Those are big cities with plenty of money, they can recover quick. The Padres don’t have that luxury.

NICHOLAS MCCANN (August 5th 10:01am)

The Adrian trade was the pinnacle of misery that has come this way since 1998. It was dark because it wasn’t surprising in the least and it had nothing to do with the fans. I think he still has a shot at the Canon because historically the Padres sign over the hill players that they can sell to the fanbase. Adrian is still local and it would mean something if he returned.

But for me, Garvey is in. I don’t really remember anything before 1984. When I started to get interested in baseball, Garv was the guy. Tony was just starting out and Goose was dark and cool, but Steve was the guy all the kids on my block in Clairemont wanted to be.

Both of these guys are Dodgers and the bulk of their importance in the overall baseball historical landscape might support that, but Garvey had the home run and Adrian never did.

NICK BURMEISTER (August 5th 8:52pm)

I think you hit the nail on the head with at least one aspect of this discussion. I loved Garv because he represented the pure love and enthusiasm that a 4 or 5 year old has for a baseball team. When you’re a kid the business of baseball means little more than “can I get dad to buy me nachos in a helmet at the game?” Every year I thought we were going to win the World Series and every year I was shocked that we had lost 100 games. I knew Adrian was leaving because by the time we got him from the Rangers I was already a Padres cynic and conspiracy theorist. Perhaps nostalgia clouds reason.

Follow on Twitter: @Nicholas_McCann and @padreshaiku and give us your response and use #PadresCanon

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Nick was born in San Diego in 1980. He started The Kept Faith on blogspot in 2008.

1 Comment

  • cantorpistola

    Back in my childhood, players like Garvey with his abiity and style -as well as his former teammate and fellow dodger Fernando Valenzuela in my country- and stories of achievement in their field were the kind of players that would get you fully drawn into baseball had you not liked or cared about the sport previous to hearing from them / watching them play.

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