How changing positions landed Trevor Hoffman in the Hall of Fame

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Trevor Hoffman went from shortstop to closer and it paid off immensely.

- When you think about Trevor and his role on the team, and to be able to get to 601 saves, for me, it's-- those are team accomplishments. And as I'm sitting there at the game-- and the Padres, they're in a really bad way right now. They're 5 and 18 in the month of July, with a negative 53 run differential. And you think about when's the next opportunity that they're going to ever have for a Trevor Hoffman--

- Oh boy,

- --appearance in the Hall of Fame, they had to go through a really good long stretch of having great baseball here to be able to put one, two guys into the Hall of Fame and be very proud about that, as they should be, because it took a monumental amount of effort, and they were great times in this city.

I wasn't a part of those times in the city. I wish I was, because when I look back and Qualcomm was almost erupting, it's lucky it's still standing based on the crowds you saw there. Like the Braves, the NLCS, and people's memory of those, I mean, the hair stands up on the back of your spine when you think about and you see those memories come up on the Jumbotron. It's like, I want to be a part of that.

JUDSON RICHARDS: You know, one of the things about the debate, because one of the things that Trevor Hoffman will always be surrounded in is a little bit of, does a closer deserve to be in the Hall of Fame as a specialty position? It reminds me a little bit of being a kicker.

- Right.

- And the specialty isn't-- like it's not thought a lot of except for you are in the biggest moment. A guy-- a middle reliever, guy who comes into the seventh inning, that's a job that you've earned by way of failure, because you're not good enough to be a starter.

- Yes.

- But one of the things I do think gets lost in the conversation, especially with the hatred of Keith Law of ESPN--


- Is that personal hatred? Hatred here in San Diego.

- Yeah. That's right.

- Because Keith doesn't buy into the fact that a closer is now in the Hall of Fame, or should be in the Hall of Fame.

- He does not, and he's made a habit now of just kind of trolling San Diego.

- He's digging this.

- Yes. Yes, he's enjoying it.

- It's good for his name. See, I wouldn't have know Keith Law if it weren't for this.

- Well, just know you should hate Keith Law.

- OK.

- Along with all of San Diego.

- No hate. Monday All Stars.

- OK, dislike.

- Let's go with the d-word, dislike. I don't like what he does there.

- But the unique path I really appreciate in Trevor Hoffman. I mean, he-- you know, I played at Saddleback Community College. He went to Cyprus. He went to junior college. He said, I was five foot nothing, 100 and nothing when he came out of high school. He was a shortstop at Cyprus, then went to University of Arizona as a shortstop-- JT Snow was the first baseman-- and then went into the minors and could not hit.

And I appreciate the mobility of his career, because this was a guy who was able to find another way to reach his dream as a pitcher. Now, he's obviously blessed with an arm to reach the, you know, in its heyday, mid to high nines.

- Right.

- But if you look at the career path, it's a unique one. He was not-- you know, Chipper Jones went in, Chipper Jones was number one overall pick.

- Right, he just plowed through.

- Chipper Jones was blessed as a switch hitter.

- He was like destined to be a Hall of Famer.


NICK HARDWICK: That was going to happen.

JUDSON RICHARDS: Right. I liked the story of Trevor Hoffman. He shared a lot of John Wooden quotes there. And I do believe that he has walked the walk and talked the talk of never being an ego driven star.

You know, the game that I went to--

NICK HARDWICK: Well, being flexible, being willing to say, unlike other guys who go, you're not that position, you're more like this, some guys go, no, I'm not, I'm this and I'm going to find a way to be that whether I'm here or somewhere else.

- Right.

- You see it all the time. Tim Tebow.

- Tim, that was the one I thought of.

- Yeah. I am a quarterback. And if I'm not going to be a quarterback, well, then I'm not going to do this sport now. It's a little different, because Tim didn't want to get hurt playing fullback or playing tight end or something, and I totally respect that. He's like, I would rather play baseball than be a quarterback.

But I loved the egoless mindset of Trevor to go, I'll do whatever it takes. Whatever it takes to put me in, not in that position, but how about that vector.


NICK HARDWICK: Just put me in a vector of success and let me run between the lines over there, and everything will be good. And if you just allow that rather than going, no, I'm a starting shortstop in Major League Baseball, figure it out, then you're going to allow yourself a lot more opportunities to grow.