San Diego Padres closer Trevor Hoffman extended his MLB record for career saves to 500 last night. He set the record last year, bypassing Lee Smith's mark of 478. While Hoffman wasn't an immediate success with the club (fans booed him in some his early appearances), he is probably second to only long time teammate and Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn as the most recognized member of the club today. The Padres started surefire HOFer Greg Maddux last night in defeating the Dodger's Randy Wolf 5-2 at Petco Park. Geoff Blum made the game for the Pads with 4 RBIs.
"Hoffman set the career record with his 479th save on Sept. 28 against Pittsburgh, breaking Lee Smith's old mark of 478. Hoffman finished the 2006 season with 482. While noting that 500 is only 22 more than Smith's old record, Hoffman said, "It's special in its own right. I think it's like trying to compare your kids to one another. They're special in their own way."
Hoffman said he was thinking of Mark Merila, the Padres' longtime bullpen coach who has been battling a brain tumor for years and wasn't at the ballpark Wednesday night.
The right-hander was an unknown rookie with two saves when the Padres obtained him in a controversial five-player deal on June 24, 1993. It was one of the big trades of the Padres' "fire sale" that summer as they shed as many big salaries as they could. Gary Sheffield, who won the NL batting title the season before, was one of the two players who went to the Marlins in the trade."
SD is on a four game winning streak, and has won nine of its last eleven. They are currently in first place in the NL West.