HOF welcomes Trevor Hoffman

Photo: Perfect Game

Jeff Dahn
Published: Sunday, July 29, 2018

Editor's Note: This feature was originally posted to the Perfect Game site on January 24, 2018 when the 2018 Hall of Fame class was announced. On this day, as that class is inducted, Perfect Game would like to congratulate all of the Hall of Famers and especially Trevor Hoffman who has served as the Honorary Chairman, and an extremely gracious host, in San Diego at the Perfect Game All-American Classic since 2011.

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa – Trevor Hoffman reached the highest rung on baseball’s ladder of success Wednesday night when it was announced that members of the Baseball Writers Association of American (BBWAA) had voted the seven-time National League All-Star into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The 50-year-old Hoffman was inducted in his third year of eligibility and is part of a 2018 class that also includes Chipper Jones, Vladimir Guerrero and Jim Thome; Alan Trammell and Jack Morris, elected by the Modern Era committee in December, will also be honored in Cooperstown, N.Y. this July. Hoffman’s bust in the HOF will don the cap of his longtime team, the San Diego Padres, and he still calls San Diego home.

In 2011, Trevor Hoffman assumed the role of Perfect Game All-American Classic Honorary Chairman – the PGAAC will be played at the Padres’ Petco Park for the 10th straight year this August – and has spent the last seven PGAAC weekends interacting with the young prospects.

He’s enjoyed that interaction during the PG All-Americans’ visits to Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego, during their practice and scrimmage sessions at the University of San Diego and out on the field at Petco on PGAAC Game Day.

Hoffman also addresses the players and their families at the annual PGAAC Awards Banquet the night before the game, and for the last four years has invited the PG All-Americans over for lunch at his Pacific Ocean beach house, where they can enjoy non-baseball activities like sand volleyball, swimming and surfing.

“I graduated high school at 5-4, 140 pounds and I would have never sniffed a game like this,” he told PG during a conversation in 2012 before offering the young prospects some valuable advice. “Keeping things in perspective is a big deal. You might be a big fish in a little pond now, and you haven’t faced much adversity and you probably won’t for a little while, and then you’ll have to figure out how you’re going to handle that. …

“I kept things alive by keeping my grades up, so I could participate in baseball, and I kept going and kept learning about the game, and it kept my dream alive, really,” he added. “I kept grinding it out, and after you knock down so many doors, sooner or later good things happen.”

The Cincinnati Reds drafted Hoffman as a shortstop in the 11th round of 1989 MLB June Amateur Draft out of the University of Arizona, and transitioned him to pitcher while he was still in the minor leagues.

He went to the Florida Marlins as the No. 8 pick in the 1993 expansion draft, and made his major league debut with the Marlins on April 6, 1993 at age 25; he was traded to the Padres a little over two months later.

Hoffman enjoyed a prolific 18-year career in the big leagues, 16 with the Padres. Using his signature change-up to perfection, he retired in 2010 (after pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers his final two seasons) with 601 saves, at the time the highest number recorded by any closer in baseball history; he was ultimately passed by Mariano Rivera.

He had become baseball’s all-time save leader when he notched No. 479 on Sept. 24, 2006, breaking the previous record of 478 held by Lee Smith. Hoffman finished with 40 or more saves in nine of his 18 seasons and 30 or more 14 times; he appeared in 1,035 games and retired with a 2.87 ERA and an average of 9.4 strikeouts per nine innings pitched.

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