’85 Spring Training: Defending National League Champion Padres Talk Terry Kennedy, Tobacco & More

Back in ’85, I landed a freelance gig with Sport MagazineAssignment: San Diego Padres catcher Terry Kennedy Drove three hours to the Padres spring training camp in Yuma, AZ to interview T.K. and his teammates.terry kennedy columnist

The angle: Kennedy’s moonlighting as a newspaper columnist for the Escondido Times-Advocate.  Ironically, the scuttlebutt was that Kennedy was not thrilled with the press in general. That was the story Sport Magazine wanted me to probe.

Interviewed eleven of the Padres in their spring training locker room, including closer Goose Gossage, first baseman Steve Garvey,  shortstop Garry Templeton, and second baseman Alan Wiggins .

TERRY KENNEDY at batNot surprisingly, Padres interviewed were careful to not offend their valued catcher.  From what I gleaned, it was clear that Kennedy liked to write.

Teammate Tim Flannery told me, “I had a radio commentary last year. It was a great outlet for me, and writing is a great outlet for Terry. Writing is something to do while on the road instead of having a couple of drinks.”

Loved Gossage’s remarks. He toyed with me, quickly realizing I was not a baseball beat reporter. Also, Goose dissed Sport Magazine, which had a reputation of  sensationalizing. To my amusement, he nicknamed me ‘Sport Magazine.’ Towering over me, the lights out closer said, “I know what you’re trying to do, Sport Magazine. Trying to stir up some shit.

Templeton: “It’s a good experience for T.K., as long as he doesn’t write anything bad about me.” Said it with a smile. While with Templeton at his locker, I watched him pour an airplane bottle of Kahlua into his can of tobacco. Reading my surprise, the stud shortstop explained, “This is the only way I can stomach chewing this shit.” Point well taken.

Garvey: “I haven’t given it much thought…It’s a personal opportunity to develop his writing skills.”

Third baseman Graig Nettles:  “It’s been done before. I don’t think it will cause any problems.”

Kennedy:  As a Times-Advocate columnist, he pointed out that he always asked T-A editors to critique his work.  Although serious about the craft of writing, T.K. added, “I don’t need the newspaper’s money.”

1984 marked the first of only two times the 49-year-old Padre franchise made it to a World Series. In 1998, the Yankees swept the Pads four straight.TK Catcher

NOTE: Kennedy’s father, Bob Kennedy, played in the majors for nearly two decades and went on to be a big league manager and general manager. His brother, Bob Kennedy Jr., pitched in the St. Louis Cardinals chain and was later a scout for the Chicago Cubs.

NOTE: When Terry had an RBI in the 1984 World Series, it marked the first time that both a father and son had World Series RBIs.

NOTE:  I attended the 1984 and 1998 World Series games held in San Diego’s Jack Murphy Stadium (Now San Diego County Credit Union).

Also was at the legendary Game 5 of the 1984 National League Conference Series that sent the Pads to the World Series against Detroit (35-5 record for the Tigers first 40 games of that season). At Game 5 of the NLCS, the gal sitting next to me poured beer on my head. I gladly reciprocated. First and only beer pouring I’ve been involved in.

If ever the Padres ever make the World Series again in my lifetime, I’ll hesitate about pouring suds on a nearby fellow fan. After all, beer costs a helluva’ lot more in 2018.

In 1998, I was at the single World Series game held in against the Yankees. The ’98 Bronx Bombers were considered, and probably still is, the best Yankee team in its storied history.

NOTE: Eventually, Padres moved spring training headquarters to Peoria, AZ, where the ball club shares the facility with the Seattle Mariners.

NOTE:  Sport Magazine, based in New York City, was launched in 1946 and shut down in 2000.

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