Last night, I went to the Kansas City Baseball Historical Society meeting. It's a great group, that focuses on all areas of Kansas City baseball, including the KC Monarchs, KC A's, KC Royals, KC Blues, KC Cowboys, KC Federals, etc. Anyway, the special guest was former Royals & Padres 3B Joe Randa. Joe was kind enough to discuss his baseball career and here were a few of his thoughts and memories.
He grew up in a suburb of Milwaukee, and his baseball heroes included Robin Yount, Paul Molitor, and George Brett. He is still a huge Brewers & Packers fan. When he was finishing high school, he sent letters to schools all across the country, and the only scholarship offer he received was from the University of Tennessee. In 1991, he was drafted by the Royals. The third basemen ahead of him in the minors included Sean Berry & Phil Hiatt, and Joe thought there wasn't a way he was going to pass those guys. Berry & Hiatt flamed out in KC, and the Royals brought in Gary Gaetti to play 3B. Meanwhile, Royals manager Bob Boone asked Randa if he could play 2B. Joe replied, "Of course!" Unknown to the Royals organization, Joe had never played 2B in his life. So where did Joe make his MLB debut? At 2B in April of 1995.
Fast forward to the 1997 expansion draft. The Pirates left Joe unprotected, and the Diamondbacks selected him with the 57th overall pick. He and his wife were excited to go to Phoenix.......until he was informed that the Diamondbacks traded him to Detroit. In 1998, he was traded to the Mets. A few days later, Steve Phillips (Mets' GM) had set up a trade with either the Pirates or Royals, and asked Joe where he wanted to go. Joe told him KC, and he came back to KC. He signed with the Reds as a free agent for the 2005 season, and was dealt to the Padres at the trade deadline in July of 2005.
He said his favorite memories with the Padres were Trevor Hoffman's intro ("Hells Bells") & going to the postseason. "It was perfectly timed. Trevor came out, and the fans went nuts. Even the fans in the Marriott across the street were going crazy. San Diego was a fun place to play. The fans were surfers, and really laid back."