Pitcher Perfect


By Chris Tran

?Few employees have their own anthem blasted over the loudspeakers as thousands of people cheer them on for doing their job-but that’s exactly what retired relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman experienced as a member of the San Diego Padres.

The ominous, chiming intro to AC/DC’s Hells Bells put Padres fans on their feet for more than a decade, as Major League Baseball’s (MLB’s) ultimate closer made his slow jog from bullpen to mound-with just one thing in mind: “Get that first strike.”

It wasn’t always like that.

Hoffman’s first appearance in a Padres uniform was a rough one. The Pads had just traded away fan favorite Gary Sheffield in a fire sale, receiving Hoffman, an unknown pitcher and converted shortstop, in the deal. He was booed during his first outing with the team.

These days, Hoffman can be found in the Padres front office, where he serves as a special assistant to team president, Tom Garfinkel.

In homage to his excellence, the club will occasionally play a snippet of Hoffman’s theme song during his promotional appearances on the field.

“It feels weird to be hearing Hell Bells and to be coming on in a suit,” says Hoffman, who spent the last few years of his career pitching for the Milwaukee Brewers. “That song became like an announcement that there’s a job I have to do. It would amp me up and get me focused, whether there was 10,000 people in the crowd, or if the game was sold out. To this day, I get the same feeling when I hear it.”

Hoffman, MLB’s all-time saves leader (601), will watch as his iconic number 51 jersey is retired on August 21, before a 1:05 p.m. game against the Florida Marlins. His number will join those of other retired Padres greats in centerfield, including Steve Garvey (No. 6), Tony Gwynn (No. 19), Dave Winfield (No. 31) and Randy Jones (No. 35).

Today, Hoffman lives with his wife and three sons, dividing his time between a home in Fairbanks Ranch and a beachfront house in Del Mar. After nearly two decades in professional baseball, he says the word “retirement” can still feel “a bit scary.”

“If someone sees number 51 up there with the other retired numbers and asks who he was, the best thing I could be remembered as is a good teammate,” Hoffman says. “Now, I get to do that for my family.”