Padres to celebrate Hoffman's Hall of Fame induction, '98 team with 2018 promotions By Dennis Lin
n conjunction with Trevor Hoffman’s upcoming induction to the Hall of Fame and the 20th anniversary of their last pennant-winning club, the Padres have revamped and upgraded their promotional lineup for the 2018 season.
Perhaps most notably, the team will reintroduce bobbleheads as a common giveaway. Multiple versions commemorating Hoffman, who heads to Cooperstown in late July, are on the calendar.
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While the aforementioned celebrations offer the Padres an opening to experiment, the larger array of options also comes in response to fan feedback, Executive Chairman Ron Fowler said.
The Padres have shied away from bobblehead promotions in recent years, sparking discontent from some Petco Park attendees. Others have voiced broader frustrations with the team’s off-field attempts to entice crowds. Last season, giveaway items, most of which were wearables, were widely panned as unimaginative.
“We were roundly criticized for our 2017 promotions,” Fowler said. “And we went to work. … As we planned for 2018, we decided it was very much worth celebrating, and it would be even more fun celebrating if Trevor was elected into the Hall of Fame.”
Hoffman will be inducted July 29, and the Padres hope to maintain fan interest at Petco before and after the ceremony.
The team will give away a commemorative set of bobbleheads over a four-game series against St. Louis from May 10-13. Four stars from the 1998 National League Championship team — Tony Gwynn, Ken Caminiti, Hoffman and Greg Vaughn — will be represented.
Each bobblehead is inspired by significant moments from 20 years ago — for instance, Gwynn homering in the World Series, or Caminiti diving to make a catch.
Players of that caliber have been rare for the franchise, perhaps explaining the Padres’ past reluctance to embrace the bobblehead craze.
“We have maybe fewer iconic people in this organization — it’s a younger one than some — but ‘98, in our mind, is worth celebrating,” Fowler said.
Fowler expressed mild surprise at the backlash against last season’s promotions: “It was consistent with what we had done in previous years. … We took it to heart, did extensive research and obviously ended up with a more aggressive promotional schedule.”
Hoffman is an obvious focus. The Padres will offer three commemorative items recreating indelible memories from the closer’s career: a 500th save bobblehead, another bobblehead for his number retirement ceremony and a No. 51 flag.
In August, after Hoffman returns from induction, the Padres will continue the celebration with a replica jersey, a “Hoffy” table book, a Cooperstown replica plaque and a replica of a Hoffman statue that will be unveiled at Petco Park this summer. Those giveaways will become available over a four-game series against Arizona from Aug. 16-19.
The Padres will continue or expand certain fan giveaways and theme nights that have proven popular in the past, such as hoodies and after-game fireworks, while other regular promotions will debut.
Single-game tickets for regular-season home dates go on sale to the general public Feb. 22 at padres.com. Pre-sales begin Feb. 15 in the MLB.com Ballpark app.