Welcome to our first edition of “Tuesdays with Ted.” We look forward to sharing his stories and insights over many weeks and hope, together, we can brighten your day regardless of the Padres’ score on a given day!
We started out the interview with Denise Wells, 50 Barrels Urban Winery, pouring some of their 2010 Chardonnay. “Mmm, it’s like angels dancing on the tip of a sword among the clouds” was Ted’s reaction to the wine. Based on that endorsement (as well as ours) we certainly recommend it!
We started our interview with a What’s My Line style of question asking Ted who he was and what he did for a living. “I dress up in a chicken suit? So, I’m a court jester,” and so started the interview with the king of mascots.
Padres360 – How far do you go back with the Padres first, being a fan?
Ted – 1974. My first game was April the 9th. April the 9th, the night after Hank Aaron hit number 715 that surpassed Babe Ruth in the record books. So, that was opening night for the Padres, a very infamous night in Padre history. It was Ray Kroc’s first night as well, as owner. And that’s the night where he, in the 7th inning stretch, took to the microphone to admonish his players for bad ball-playing and apologizing for the Padre fans and vowing that there will be an improvement before the end of the season.
Padres360 – Well, going back over all of your years, players you’ve met on the Padres, who’s your favorite all-time Padre?
Ted – There are so many [laughs]. It could be Randy Jones. I love Rollie Fingers. There are so many personalities back in the ‘70s. Boy, obviously, Kurt Bevacqua in the ‘80s. Who else? Obviously, everyone’s favorite was Ozzie Smith and Dave Winfield as players. I love them both, especially. One of the things I remember in the ‘70s, when nobody knew of Dave Winfield throughout the league, he had this obvious cannon arm. Before the word got around that he had such a powerful arm, we knew that in San Diego, not rest of the league … But to see runners trying to go from first to third on a single to right field, and Winfield come up with a 300-foot throw at the letters – I remember fans laughing, laughing out loud, giggling, as the player rounded! All these players would round second base like dumb clucks. And Winfield would field the ball and everybody would start laughing like, oh, watch this. Now, watch what’s going to happen And sure enough … BOOM! Out at third by plenty of steps. And then of course, the word got out about Winfield. Sorry, but I still remember being tickled in hearing how fans would giggle just watching Winfield field the ball and the runner not knowing what’s about to happen.
Padres360 – So going back to ’74 and if you want to, even before that, of all the uniforms, because the Padres have been big on changing uniforms. What’s your favorite jersey that they’ve worn?
Ted – I’ve always loved their first jersey. I really love the simplicity of it. I’ve always looked at the jerseys and I’ve noticed one thing. There’s always a classic simplicity to great-looking uniforms, whether it’s the Yankees or the Dodgers or for that matter, even the Cubs. I know the Cubs have tried various changes to theirs. But again, what the Cubs had in the ‘60s for their home jersey has endured. But I just love the simplicity of a classic jersey. And I like the idea of a standard like that just holding up throughout the years. Of the new jerseys that the Padres have ever put together, I just like their specialty Sunday jersey.
Padres360 – The Camo?
Ted – Yeah. There’s something about that look that is good for a Sunday, especially in a military town. But again, with the white numbers against that beigy camouflage look, it really looks good. And as you can see now, everybody’s doing it. Everybody.
Padres360 – The Mets picked it. They’re going to do with this year.
Ted – You see, last week the NFL, they all had that camouflage look on the on the helmets.
Padres360 – And on the hats and their towels.
Ted – The hats, right. Right. But there’s that beige look and that sort of thing. I like that of all the jerseys since that have come up. But for me, maybe it was growing up as a kid and seeing it early on, but I really love that first Padre jersey.
Padres360 – My son, his favorite jersey is the yellow one, the 1972 model. For his 16th birthday, it took me two years to find it but I finally found one for sale and I bought it for him. And he just absolutely loves it. He loves the old colors.
Ted – Oh my, gosh. Oh my, gosh. I was a sports editor at the Hoover Cardinal newspaper ’73. No, ’72. Yeah, because I was graduated in ’72. And I remembered going there to the stadium and Don Zimmer came out. He was the manager and came out an introduced himself for these high school editors at a little conference and came out and just talked for about 10 minutes. But he came in that yellow outfit. And I said, “My god, it looks like a hotdog with a lot of mustard covered on it.” I never was a fan. It was so garish. Even I knew it in ’73, and in ’72. Those were garish times anyway.
Padres360 – Tell us about the greatest Padre moment you’ve ever seen in person.
Ted – Well, that Steve Garvey homerun in the playoff against the Cubs, that was truly a watershed moment because it really put the Padres solidly on the map. This was a team to be reckoned with, you know. Garvey was an intelligent signing for the Padres game with credibility. For him to win an important game with a walk-off homerun. It was truly a great, great moment. So, for the single individual moment, that probably was it. I still remember Henry Cotto climbing over the wall trying to get that ball. It just eluded him. But how loud the crowd was that night. In fact, I contend that the crowds for that Cubs-Padre playoff were much more louder than in the World Series, much more louder than when we saw Detroit in the World Series. Because the World Series, I think that’s when Major League Baseball’s main offices take over a lot of the tickets. And so, you saw a lot of people in the season ticket holder seats that weren’t really Padres fans. They were fans coming from other towns or whatever, or VIPs getting these better seats. So, the real Padres fans were relegated upstairs for a lot of those seats. So, it wasn’t quite as loud. Whereas, for the Cubs series, it was extraordinary. It was just — their noise was so loud it showed up on the Richter scale.
Padres360 -Where were you in the stadium when it was hit? When Garvey hit the homerun?
Ted – Oh, I was just a little bit off to the third base side there. So, I got a pretty good view of it, up on the little sidewalk concourse that wrapped around the entire stadium, and just leading cheers at the time and watching this and then watching it just shoot over the wall like that.
Padres360 – We’re friends with Dave Freisleben. He was pitcher with the Padres.
Ted – Didn’t he go 36 innings scoreless one time?
Padres360 – He threw a 13-inning shutout against the Cincinnati Reds on August 4, 1974. He was pulled in the 13th inning because it was a 0-0 game. And subsequently, we scored a run to win it. He tied the record for the longest consecutive shutout innings in a single game for a Padres pitcher.
[Note: Wayne wrote a story about Freisy’s game for the SABR Games Project and it can be found here]
Ted – That’s fantastic, yeah. I know there was a time, I remember, I was a big fan. And he had a good sense of humor, too. Back in my KGB days, I posed for a picture with him in the dugout. And he was there. He was there with a few other guys. And it was an easygoing time. It was a much easier-going time. Dave, I think, went about 36, maybe 38 innings of scoreless baseball. A really, really remarkable streak, especially on a Padres team back in the ‘70s.
You can tell we were having a great time!
Next Tuesday, Ted will share who surprised him the most … one person from the NBA, another a Hollywood star, and maybe even someone from the Oval Office. Until our next Tuesday with Ted!
Wayne & Rebecca