Nick Burmeister AKA @padreshaiku and I get into it over the legacies of Phil Nevin, Ryan Klesko and Brian Giles. Should one, all, or none be in the Padres Canon? It’s an important discussion to have. We’re both in our mid 30s, looking back at our early 20s and the players that were in our lives. Please weigh in and use #PadresCanon on Twitter.
NICK MCCANN November 16th 9:30am
I’ve been thinking a lot about the post Tony Gwynn transition into the Petco Park era for the Padres. Recently, with the speculation that Phil Nevin was given consideration for the Padres manager job I started to look back at those days when the franchise went all in on Ryan Klesko, Brian Giles and our boy Phil. It feels like one of them should be in the Padres Canon. What do you think about that period?
Maybe we put them all in as a three headed monster (which they kind of were). It needs to be represented somehow.
NICHOLAS BURMEISTER November 16th 3:41pm
This was a weird time for our Padres. This is the transition time between Andy Ashby and Jake Peavy. Those first few years after Tony Gwynn retired were like this historical hole in the franchise. Petco Park was still under construction, the uniforms in 2002 and 2003 were worse than they are now, and the team was awful. I always link this time with Kevin Towers the most. He had all kinds of good will from the city after the 1998 pennant, the new stadium approval was going forward and he had big name players like Kevin Brown, Greg Vaughn, and Caminiti. But they could never seem to keep anyone here except Mr. San Diego. Still, people had faith in Towers.
Our boy Phil is a big reason why we believed as well. Nevin was the first example of the “he needs to play everyday” guy I can think of. He had ho-hum numbers in Detroit and Anaheim, but he wasn’t playing that much. When He came to San Diego, he played every day and his numbers exploded. Now he’s known mostly for complaining about Petco Park’s dimensions and having the road home splits to prove it. He was a really great player on some really bad teams. If we’re putting in players to represent this era, Nevin is probably the guy.
Giles is a Pirate.
Klesko’s facial hair goes into the Canon for sure. Even if Klesko doesn’t make it, that sideburn goatee thing belongs in Cooperstown next to Rollie Fingers’s moustache, Oscar Gamble’s fro, and Pedro’s Jheri curl. Klesko was an excellent player for the Braves; I don’t think he warrants entry into the Padres Canon.
What about Mark Loretta?
NICK MCCANN November 17th 8:21am
I like the the term “Historical Hole”. That’s exactly what it was. I remember being at Qualcomm during this period and watching Rickey Henderson break Babe Ruth’s walk record with like 10,000 people.
To me, Klesko and Nevin are the some person in a lot of the ways. Sure, Nevin was undeniably better, but both were big investments at the same time that didn’t pan out. Nevin was always pissed off and Klesko’s sideburns were being prominently featured in Petco ads (Mark Loretta is another Canon discussion).
The last memory I have of Nevin as a player was the stink he made about the organization pushing to have Sean Burroughs start at third base. Nevin was the first pick in the draft and was widely considered a bust for most of his career. When he got to the Padres he had success and I think it went to his head. There was an air about him that suggested that he was always great and the baseball community had to figure it out (See: Kanye West for an example of this in music).
I would say Nevin over Klesko. However, Giles is significant. He was a local boy who at the end of his career denied a trade to the Red Sox because he wanted to ride off into the sunset (or back to El Cajon) on a losing team over playing for a then contender. Electing for the San Diego discount and exposing a lack of competitive spirit might be a whole other Padres Canon discussion, but hey, it’s just Giles, a guy most known for his antics while naked in the clubhouse.
NICHOLAS BURMEISTER November 17 5:21pm
Was staying in San Diego supposed to endear Giles to the hearts of the faithful? Was he supposed to carry the “San Diego Forever” torch after Tony left? I remember thinking Giles should go and just come back to Padres after a Boston rental. He didn’t and I just thought he was dumb. Padre fans would have rooted for him in the playoffs, and instead he just kept drawing walks in Mission Valley. I’m a no on Giles.
“Not panning out,” is a good way to describe Klesko and Nevin. “Bust” is too harsh a term because both were pretty good but not great. This was Towers’s track record. Roll the dice and hope it works out like Caminiti and Vaughn.
Nevin was sort of a cry baby in general, about Burroughs and the new ball park. He hated the size of the outfield and he made the Padres re-build the batters eye at Petco because he didn’t like the way the ball came out of one or two pitchers hands (one was a Rockie, but I forget his name).
I think you could make an argument for either. Or neither, if you want to get grumpy about it. Maybe the answer is you have to put in both? If it has to one, I agree, Nevin. Klesko had production with Atlanta and was an all-star but he isn’t Canon.
I’m standing by Klesko’s sideburns being in the Canon. That’s a gimmie.
NICK MCCANN November 18th 7:55am
I say put Phil Nevin in. I think the buzz around town at the prospect of him getting the manager job proves what he means to the fan base. Ryan Klesko can give the induction speech at his canonization ceremony held at the Tilted Kilt. Giles can come, but he has to wear clothes.
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