Drafted by the San Diego Padres in the third round of the 1978 MLB Draft out of California State University, Dominguez Hills, George Stablein was assigned to Reno of the A+ Cal League, where he compiled an 8-4 record with a 4.45 ERA. He was promoted to AA Amarillo in 1979 but struggled in the Texas League winning 8 and losing 15 while giving up 235 hits in 168 innings pitched with an ERA of 6.21. Those numbers usually don’t warrant a promotion but the Padres’ front office saw something in Stablein and moved him up to AAA Hawaii and added him to the 40-man roster for the 1980 season. George responded with his best season as a pitcher winning 12 games and losing 7, giving up fewer hits than innings and lowered his ERA to 3.88.
Have you ever wondered what a professional baseball player on the 40-man roster made in 1980? Well, you never know what you will find on eBay … here is a copy of one such paycheck and its endorsement:
The Padres called him up on September 20, 1980 to pitch against the Atlanta Braves and he pitched a solid game, giving up 2 runs in 7 1/3 innings of work, but got a no decision. Stablein would make two more appearances out of the bullpen before starting the next to last game of the season in San Francisco where he suffered the loss after giving up a run in 2 innings of work; that ended his Major League career.
Stablein spent the 1981 season in AAA Hawaii and had an ERA of 3.76 and a 3-4 record. He tossed a no-hitter on June 13, 1981 against the Tacoma Rainiers. 1982 saw George’s ERA go up to almost 7 in AAA, which led to his demotion in 1983 to AA Beaumont where his struggles continued. He finished the 1983 season with the Vancouver Canadians, the Milwaukee Brewers AAA club, pitching mostly out of the bullpen and retired after the season.
We reached out to George Stablein to ask him about his career in baseball and he graciously took the time to answer our questions.
Padres360 – What is the proudest moment of your Major League career?
George Stablein – Finding out I had been called up after winning a AAA playoff game against Vancouver sending us to the finals against the Albuquerque Dukes.
Padres360 – What path did you take after your major league career?
George Stablein – Sold real estate as I went back to school to become a Physical Therapist.
Padres360 – What are you doing now?
George Stablein – Kaiser Permanente Physical Therapist for 21 years in Irvine, CA.
Padres360 – Who were your favorite Padres players when you were on the team?
George Stablein – Dave Winfield. One of the most talented baseball/athletes ever. Good person too.
Padres360 – What advice would you give players in the minors or in college?
George Stablein – Work harder than anyone else. Watch what successful players do to move up.
As we began to put the story together, there was one more thing we discovered about George that we didn’t know before we contacted him. 1980 was the season that Jerry Coleman managed the San Diego Padres. During that season, Jerry wore the #2 rather than the #42 that he wore during his playing days with the New York Yankees. Why? Because a player on the 40-man roster already had that number. That player was George Stablein. In typical Jerry fashion, he didn’t ask Stablein for the number and simply wore the #2.
We hope you enjoyed catching up with George Stablein and spending a moment in Padres’ History.