In the first, of what I hope many, "Where Are They Now?" segments, the Fro catchs up with one of my personal favorites, former Padres starting pitcher Joey Hamilton. The 1990 Golden Spikes Award finalist was drafted by the Padres in the first round (8th overall) of the 1991 draft out of Georgia Southern University. In 1994 he broke in with the team winning his first 3 decisions right out the gate and would go on to post a 9-6 record with a 2.98 ERA and place 5th in the NL Rookie of the Year voting that season. A member of the core group of guys to play on both the 1996 and 1998 playoff teams, he would go on to play 5 seasons for the Padres racking up 55 wins with the team, good enough for 8th on the All-Time Padres wins list. Keep reading as we talk Padres, the Pedro Martinez no-hit bid (Joey was the opposing pitcher) and the greatness known only as the McRib.
RJ's Fro: What have you been up to since the end of your Major League playing career?
Joey Hamilton: Not a lot, until the beginning of this year when I started doing private individual and group baseball lessons. It has been great and I wish I would have started doing this earlier.
RJ's Fro: What is your favorite/most memorable moment as a Padre?
Joey Hamilton: Obviously the World Series and the birth of my first child, both in 98.
RJ's Fro: Do you still pay attention to or root on the Padres?
Joey Hamilton: Yes, but also San Francisco because of Boch. Congrats to him. He is a great skipper and good dude.
RJ's Fro: You played for the US National Team in 1990 (alongside fellow future Padres Chris Gomez & Phil Nevin). Tell me what that experience was like?
Joey Hamilton: It was cool. We got to go to Japan and Cuba, with alot of stops in between.
RJ's Fro: Being a pitcher who's played in both the NL & AL, which do you prefer: DH or no DH and why?
Joey Hamilton: I prefer no DH (NL). Because I like to hit and see other pitchers try as well. There is more strategy, plus I was hurt my entire time in the AL.
RJ's Fro: Scott Boras was once your agent during your playing days. Genius or out of control Mad Man?
Joey Hamilton: Genius for the players that he represents and Mad Man to front offices and some fans.
RJ's Fro: Those '96 and '98 seasons were magical and will never be forgotten by the fans of San Diego. Tell me about what it was like playing on those teams?
Joey Hamilton: They both were an amazing group of guys and the chemistry was unmatched on any other team I have been on.
RJ's Fro: You were the opposing pitcher in the Pedro Martinez 9 inning no hit game of 1995. You matched him for 9 scoreless innings, while only allowing 3 hits. What was going through your head that game?
Joey Hamilton: I didnt really realize he had that going until about the 6th or 7th inning. All I was concerned about was not giving up a run and keeping our team in the game. I just wish he would have gotten the loss after the lead off double in the 10th. That would have stung. And it did for us when we ended up losing after that.
RJ's Fro: I noticed you, like myself, are a huge McRib fan. Do you think McDonalds should come to their senses and just keep it around all the time? Or do you think having the McRib only a few times a year fuels the desire to consume 50 McRibs in one month when they return?
Joey Hamilton: I think its not for most people. Just special ones like you and I. I read somewhere that it sold 60 million in its yearly glory as apposed to like 200 million Big Macs in that same time frame. Maybe its purely financially driven and that sucks because its not like Mickey D's is going broke. Ray Kroc is rolling over every year because of this. I do my duty and consume as many as I can tolerate on a daily basis.
RJ's Fro: I know time is very valuable during this part of the year (McRib Season), so I'd like to thank you for taking the time to answer some questions. The fans in San Diego wish you well!