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Former Padres outfielder Mike Aldrete turns 54 today

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If you remember Mike Aldrete being a member of the Padres, kudos, since he was only around for a dozen games in 1991. If you remember him getting a hit, reevaluate everything you believe, because that never happened. Aldrete was 0-15 in 18 trips to the plate in the then-new blue pinstripes. Those 18 hitless plate appearances are second only to the 26 times catcher Don Slaught went to the plate without a knock six years later. Although Aldrete collected 565 hits from 1986 through 1996 with six other teams, this is a Padres blog, so I'll focus on the three times he reached base in a Padres uniform, all via walk.

Aldrete reached base for the first time as a Padre in his fifth plate appearance of the year, on April 20, 1991. With two outs, Shawn Abner on first, and the Padres trailing 3-2, Aldrete ran the count full and walked on Dodgers starter Tim Belcher's seventh pitch. Paul Faries then tripled to give the Padres a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

It was exactly one more week until Aldrete walked again. With the Friars and Phillies tied at twos heading into the twelfth, Philadelphia manager Jim Fregosi called on the late Darrel Akerfelds, and San Diego skipper Greg Riddoch countered with Aldrete, who once again worked a full count before taking his base. He moved to second on a bunt by Abner and scored the go-ahead run on a single by Faries. Unfortunately, the Phils scored a pair in the bottom of the inning and walked off with the win.

His final time on base occurred on May 3. In his second start of the year, Aldrete went 0-3 with a walk in the fourth against Expos starter Oil Can Boyd. He made it to third on a single by Faries, but was stranded when Abner struck out swinging. Three hitless plate appearances and one week later, Aldrete was cut loose. He hooked up with Cleveland, where he hit well, then kicked around the Arena League as a platooner, plug-in, and pinch-hitter for the next few years.

After going out on a high note with a World Series ring as a member of the '96 Yankees, Aldrete turned to coaching. As noted on his B-R Bullpen bio page, Aldrete seems to be close with former teammate Bob Melvin, as Melvin gave Aldrete his first major league coaching gig with the Mariners, took him to the desert when he got the D-backs job, and re-hired him as his bench coach this offseason. Prior to Melvin making Aldrete his right-hand-man (although Aldrete is left-handed) in Oakland, Aldrete spent the past three years in St. Louis in that capacity.