The Padres announced that they will retire Trevor Hoffman's number 51 on August 21st this year. Part of the reason for the rush, I imagine, is that Hoffman is still the Major League Saves leader. Having that title will be one of the main bullet points during the number retirement ceremony and with Mariano Rivera only 29 saves behind him, they need to hurry.
The Padres made Tony Gwynn, the greatest Padre who ever lived, wait almost three years from his retirement in October 2001 to his number's retirement on September 4th 2004. Here's some pictures from that day in 2004 from my personal collection:
It's interesting to see the batter's eye painted green, the Candy Factory still painted white and the lack of buildings surrounding the ballpark in 2004.
"Work ethic — that’s what I think about," Tony Gwynn said. "Every day, him in that doctor’s smock and he’s running in the outfield at 1:30 or 2 o’clock. He was never satisfied, always working to get better. I think that’s why he had the kind of longevity he had."
Doctor's smock? That's a weird analogy.
I'm curious to see how they'll make room for Hoffman's number. There doesn't seem to be enough space on top of the batter's eye unless they are able to squeeze them all closer together without it becoming just one long 11 digit number. Also will they group all the Padres retired numbers together or keep them in numerical order? I'm trying to get answers to these questions but the Padres aren't talking.