Ranging from ages 34 to 57, five one-time Padres players celebrate a birthday today.
Marvell Wynne came to the Padres in 1986 after three seasons with the Pirates. He stuck around until he was traded to the Cubs late in the 1989 season, and is best remembered for being part of the first trio to lead off a game with three home runs, along with Tony Gwynn and John Kruk. His son, who has the same name, is a Major League Soccer player, now with the San Jose Earthquakes.
Rafael Valdez spent nine days in the major leagues, making three relief appearances for the Padres in 1990. Incredibly he wore two uniform numbers in that time, 35 and 41. At least he was around long enough to make it onto one of my favorite baseball cards of all time.
The Padres were 41-year-old Brandon Villafuerte’s third major league team. Like Wynne (7 and 16) and Valdez, the right-handed reliever wore two numbers in San Diego, 47 and 43. He stuck around for two years, appearing in 31 games in each; he had a phenomenal 1.41 ERA in 2002, and a fairly high mark of 4.20 in 2003
Dale Thayer, who turns 36 today, came up in the Padres’ organization but was traded to the Rays as a minor leaguer. After parts of two seasons with them and another part of one with the Mets, Thayer came back to the Padres as a free agent before the 2012 season. He was a fixture for four years, but kept having to give up his uniform number and take another. When the Padres signed Josh Johnson before the 2014 season, Thayer traded in the 55 he’d been wearing for two years for 33. He got to keep that for one season until San Diego signed James Shields, at which time Thayer recieved 44.
It’s hard to believe Josh Barfield is just 34. His solid rookie season with the Padres is already over a decade in the rear-view mirror. After being a part of the Padres’ last team to reach the postseason, Barfield was dealt to the Indians for Kevin Kouzmanoff. San Diego got the best of that, as Barfield cratered quickly while Kouz put in a few years of good work at third base and beside the plate.