July 25, 2013 by Rebecca Herman
My son and I have now visited 18 Major League ballparks and are on a quest to visit them all! It isn’t always possible but ideally, when we make the trek to a new ballpark we also like to take in some of the sights of the town, do an official tour of the ballpark, and visit the team’s HOF & museum. Some of the great town sights we have enjoyed include things like the Space Needle in Seattle, NASA in Houston, Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Negro League Museum in Kansas City, Alcatraz in San Francisco, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, 9/11 Memorial in NYC … and the list goes on and on. For those visiting Petco Park for the first time – and beautiful San Diego – there are numerous choices including the beaches, world-famous San Diego Zoo, Midway Museum, etc.
Ballpark tours are important if you are a true ballpark chaser because you get the behind-the-scenes look at the ballpark and often visit places typically off limits to fans … the Press Box, Clubhouse, Dugout, luxury suites, and more. Many have “early bird” tours for game days (although typically not for day games) and these are great because you can be the first one in the ballpark and even get a chance to catch more of the home team batting practice. Always check out these options in advance and try to plan your trip. Petco Park offers and they are very informative and reasonably priced – CLICK HERE for additional details.
One of my favorite features of most tours is visiting the team’s HOF & museum. It is like taking trip back in time … a way to experience events that perhaps you weren’t even yet born to see. The team museum provides you with a sense of who the team really is – where they have come from – what they have achieved through the years. You also learn about their heroes and their amazing accomplishments as well as what makes those people so special to that team and the city in which they played. Often I will think – wow, I forgot he played for this team … or … I didn’t know that particular statistic about this club. In Kansas City, I loved seeing the baseball sculpture of George Brett’s 3,154 hits … couldn’t help but think that Tony Gwynn deserves something like this too! Or at the Yankee’s Museum – loved seeing the depiction of the 1956 World Series Perfect Game; filled with baseballs autographed by former Yankee Players … the Padres need to be thinking about how we will commemorate Trevor Hoffman’s career because he is an obvious future Hall of Famer!
Padres HOF & Museum
But what about the Padres HOF & Museum? Does it measure up? Let me take you on a tour and you decide for yourself. Here is a map that you can use to navigate:
The main ticket booth on Park Blvd. Even if you already have your tickets, you will want to tour the “windows” so you can see the framed collection of Padres jerseys from the various years.
Walk along Park Blvd and turn left on 10th and head to the East Village Gate. This is also a great entry gate because it opens to the public before other gates.
Right as you enter the gate, head to the left to see tribute to Jerry Coleman … “The Marine – The Teammate – The Voice.”
Continue into the Park-in-the-Park and onto the grassy hill.
The Tony Gwynn Statue. This was built to commemorate his induction into the HOF in 2007 … first year of eligibility.
Continue toward the Batter’s Eye.
Batter’s Eye Patio … unfortunately, you likely won’t be able to actually visit this location. I have had the opportunity to have breakfast on this patio twice and that is when I discovered the Padres HOF Plaques. Typically, these are covered and fans are not able to view them.
Walk along the Park-in-the-Park walkway toward the Gaslamp Gate and Palm Court Plaza – this is a pretty cool plaza as you can view the various bricks purchased and dedicated. The Padres Team Store entrance is also in this area. Assuming the ballpark gates are now open, head on up the escalator to the Toyota Terrace level.
Western Metal Supply Building (TT Level) HOF Bar & Grill. When you first enter you will see some great pictures and a few cases filled with Padres jerseys and memorabilia. Head past the food stations to the back wall where you will find replica lockers of many Padres greats: Tony Gwynn, Randy Jones, Dave Winfield, Buzzie Bavasi, Ray Kroc, Jerry Coleman, and Dick Williams. Note: This is also a fun place to watch the game on the patio … can sit/eat/drink on outdoor patio for innings 1-3 or 4-9.
Walk along the Toyota Terrace walkway to Hodad’s and then take their stairs down to the PCL Club.
PCL Club/Hodad’s (Garden Level) – Salute to the Pacific Coast League. There is an amazing collection of jerseys, memorabilia, photos, etc. for the PCL. The primary display is to the left as you enter the restaurant but there are displays throughout. However, depending on the crowds, it may be difficult to view some of the displays that are adjacent to tables.
Head back up to the Toyota Terrace level and continue on the walkway toward section 217 where you will find the entrance to Club 19.
Club 19. This is a Tony Gwynn themed restaurant and bar that notably has a terrific collection of his National League Batting Champion awards, Gold Glove awards, and a couple of his autographed jerseys. If you are a fan of Tony Gwynn (and who’s not?), you will want to stop by here.
Well, this concludes the tour of the Padres HOF & Museum. Did I miss anything? Did you know all these collections were available for you to visit?
The Padres need a TRUE HOF & Museum
… a place where all of these amazing items can be placed into a common location for fans and ballpark visitors to enjoy. My recommendation is the Showley Brothers Candy Factory, which is located in the Petco Park-in-the-Park. I’ve heard talk that this was actually contemplated a few years ago and Padres Public wrote about it in June.
It seems to be an ideal location for this endeavor. We already have the Jerry Coleman Tribute and Tony Gwynn Statue in this area. The location would allow year-round tours of the museum and easy access on non-game days as well. Perhaps it could be part of the Petco Park Tour or free entry for those with a game ticket. There could even be an auxiliary team store that sells vintage Padres merchandise.
Our Padres, Our History, Our Fans deserve a place for this
… a single location that doesn’t require a “tour map” like I’ve provided in this article.
- Padres Fans – would you go?
- Ballpark Chasers – would you visit?
- Padres Leadership – what is the possibility of this being a reality?
Here’s to hoping for a Padres HOF & Museum in the not-so-distant future. In the meanwhile, do use the map and guide provided here to explore Petco Park and visit many of our hidden treasures!
Rebecca Herman, TheBaseballPHD