05/10/16 / Padres360.com / @Padres360
By Wayne McBrayer
A few days ago, the Padres announced their selections for the 2016 San Diego Padres Hall of Fame: Ted Williams and Ken Caminiti. No one can argue their contributions to Padres baseball history but I hope that those who are a part of the selection committee would take these candidates into account for future selections.
Here are our candidates for the Padres Hall Of Fame…
First Candidate: Bobby Doerr – Ted Williams’ best friend and the man who left San Diego with Williams to go to Boston. Bobby played with the Hollywood Stars for the first 2 years before they moved to San Diego and became the Padres. In 1936, Bobby hit .342 with 37 doubles, 12 triples, and 2 home runs. Bobby would become the starting second baseman for the Red Sox from 1937-1951 (minus the 1945 season when he joined the war effort) and was inducted into the Hall Of Fame in 1986. Would have been nice to have added him this year, especially with his relationship with Ted Williams as well as the fact that he is still living.
Second Candidate: Clay Kirby – The 12th selection by the San Diego Padres in the expansion draft on October 14, 1969, Kirby became the ace of the staff. Nicknamed “The Kid” by his teammates, he pitched without fear and wanted the ball every four days. Described by his teammate Steve Arlin as “cocky, brash, arrogant, and still very popular. He was a young kid who did not back down from anything or anybody. He could beat the world and he knew it.” He would come close to tossing three no-hitters with the Padres, including the famous July 21, 1970 game against the Mets, when then manager, Preston Gomez, pinch hit for Clay in the 8th inning with the Padres down 1-0 and Clay tossing a no-hitter (the Mets run came on an error). Jack Balderschun would come out of the pen and give up 3 hits and 2 more runs leading to the Padres 3-0 defeat. Kirby tossed 200 plus innings for the Padres every year except his last year in 1973 when he only pitched 191.1 innings. His best season was 1971, when “The Kid” went 15-13 with a 2.88 ERA, pitching 267.1 innings, 13 complete games, 2 shutouts and striking out 231 hitters while walking 103. Yes, Clay Kirby was wild, but he was a durable pitcher who didn’t miss starts. He died of a heart attack on October 11, 1991 at the young age of 43.
Third Candidate: John DeMott – After the 1969 season, Buzzie Bavasi was looking for a change from their first PA Announcer, John Bowman, and the answer was John DeMott. He set the standard for being colorful and energetic with the way he would announce the Padres coming to bat and fans loved it. His most memorable introduction was, “NumberElevenEnzoHernandez” all said in one breath! He was popular with fans and players alike. He served as the Padres PA announcer until 1985.
Fourth Candidate: Ted Giannoulas aka The KGB Chicken/San Diego Chicken/The Famous Chicken – He made his debut at San Diego Stadium the same night that Ray Kroc had his meltdown in the booth. From 1974-1992, Ted would entertain the fans with his “chicken shtick” and is still going strong today. He wrote a book in 1978 called From Scratch By the KGB Chicken about his first 4 years as a mascot. Ted’s Chicken outfit is on display in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
There are many other amazing people we could have chosen but these are the ones who first came to mind. We hope someday all of these individuals will be recognized by the Padres Hall of Fame for what they contributed to the Padres organization. For 2016, we look forward to honoring Ted Williams and Ken Caminiti.