John D’Acquisto was a pitcher for the Padres from 1977-1980. His best season came during the Padres first winning season of 1978 when he posted a 4-3 record with a 2.13 ERA with 104 strikeouts and 10 saves. I have chatted with John online in the past and decided to contacted him about being the subject of our Throwback Thursday and he was happy to do it. Here are some of John’s favorite baseball memories…
Padres360 – What was the proudest moment of your MLB career?
John D’Acquisto – My proudest moment in my career was receiving the N.L. Rookie Pitcher of the Year from The Sporting News, N.L. Rookie of the Year from Topps Bubble Gum Card Company and receiving the Player of the Year from San Diego Hot Stove League while playing for the San Francisco Giants.
Padres360 – What is your favorite Padres memory?
John D’Acquisto – My most favorite Padres memory was in 1978 when Roger Craig put me in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals. The score was 7-5 at the time and we had the lead. Roger had used me as a reliever in a mop-up situation earlier were I struck out two in the 9th inning and as a setup man were I got a win against Pittsburg throwing 3.1 and striking out 5 and then Roger thought it was time to really test the waters…I was brought in 8th inning with one to relieve Dan Spillner and face Dane Iorg, who walked to load the bases and then Tony Scott came to the plate and I proceeded to strike him out for the second out. Then it was my old team mate from the Giants Mike Phillips who hit a weak fly ball to Center field for the third out and a hold. I can remember being so pumped and my adrenalin flowing I had to keep my cool, because Roger said that I will get to throw the last inning also. Now it was the real test. I was facing Garry Templeton, Keith Hernandez and Ted Simmons for the last inning…Three of the toughest hitters in the National League and my old teammates watching on the other side of the field…Time to prove something. Tempy grounded out to Ozzie Smith at shortstop for the first out, then it was Keith Hernandez who was always tough to face plus I was throwing BP to him when I was with the Cardinals so he knew what I had to offer…Struck Keith out looking and the crowd went nuts. Kind of set me back a bit from all the excitement. Then it was Ted Simmons one of the most feared hitters in the game, who knew what I had because he just caught me in St. Louis and definitely knew what I had pitch wise…I can remember getting ahead of Simmons and stepping off the mound to gain my composure. I said to myself let it fly, your best heat you’ve got…and I did let it fly. Simmons swung so hard he almost fell at the plate; but missed the ball by about 6 inches because it rose and it was a good 100 mph heater for call strike three…I can remember jumping up and down like a little kid and fist pumping all the way to the dugout to the waiting pats of my manager and my teammates… What a rush and to do it in my home town…My first save and I still have the ball.
Padres360 – Who was your favorite Padres player while you were with the club?
John D’Acquisto – My favorite Padres player…well I must say I had more than one. Eric Rasmussen and I are still friends till this day and Rollie Fingers being his setup man we are still close also there was my old Giants teammate Gaylord Perry and then my very special friend Randy Jones and if there is one guy I can say that has done a lot for me as a friend and been by my side it is Randy Jones so he would be my most favorite Padre and Eric Rasmussen is still my best friend today we are very close.
Padres360 – What path did you take after you retired from the MLB?
John D’Acquisto – The path I took when I retired was in banking and finance and then I went into Biomechanical analysis work with Ariel at Ariel Life Systems in La Jolla California and also later with Rough Edge Software and E-Factor 3D motion sensor systems analyzing elite athletes in Phoenix, Arizona. I am presently working as Director of West Coast Operations for Sorganics, Inc. and I am working in Major League Baseball as a FTC Field Timing Coordinator and assisting in Replay. Being back in baseball has been a great feeling to be able to see all of my old friends and having the best seat in the house is great. I enjoy my jobs.
Padres360 – What advice would you give to Minor League players today?
John D’Acquisto – As for minor league players…Don’t give up so early. I know the competition is rough and it is hard to get to the Big Leagues. I have seen so many great talents give up on their quest to be a major League player because it is too hard on them…This is the learning curve to see what you are made of and how bad you want to play ball. Work hard and it will pay off…See most minor league players think they are going to get to the big leagues because they got drafted by a team. That is a total misconception. You have work hard and run your numbers up along with being a team player and in some cases a team leader. Play hard and play like it is your last game, because it might just be your last game.
We hope you enjoyed catching up with John D’Acquisto in this edition of “Padres Throwback Thursday.” See you next week!