Tag Archives: Burt Hooton

Inside the SP78 Vault: 1978 Padres Program

Perhaps my very first addition to the SP78 vault, even before their was an SP78! On September 29th, 1978, my Dad and brother Scott and I attended the third-to-last game of the Padres season (and my fifth of the year, and first since June), a Friday night match-up against the Dodgers, who were in first place and headed for the World Series against the Yankees. LA’s Burt Hooton was going for his 20th win, but it wasn’t to be as the Padres pulled out a 3-1 win, in a game that took just 1 hour, 58 minutes to play.

On the way in, I paid a vendor fifty cents for the program, whose cover celebrated the Padres’ tenth year of existence, as well as them being the host team of that summer’s All-Star Game. It’s fun for me to look through the program now and check out all the San Diego ads, and the places I used to frequent that are no longer around: Square Pan Pizza, Dow Sound City, Monterey Jack’s, Picnic ‘n Chicken, Kinney Shoes, and sadly, San Diego Stadium itself, which hasn’t seen a Padres game played there since 2003.

Besides acquiring this program, this was also the game where I caught my first batting practice home run ball, in the left field seats off the bat of LA outfielder Dusty Baker. My brother also got himself a baseball, tossed to him by Dodgers utility player Joe Simpson from the bullpen, where Scott was watching some players warm up before the game.

Dodgers End July With Best Record In Majors

The Los Angeles Dodgers wrapped up July with a 17-11 won-lost mark and a four-game winning streak, which not only put them two games ahead of the second-place Padres in the NL West, but gave them a 66-37 record for the season, which in turn was the best record of all 26 teams in the major leagues as the SP78 campaign headed into August. Surprisingly, this was accomplished without the full-time services of Triple Crown contender Reggie Smith, who was limited to just 18 games played after a shoulder injury knocked him out of action for two weeks during the second half of the month.

Helping the Dodgers cause were starting right-hander Burt Hooton, who went 4-0 in July with a 2.22 earned run average and twenty strikeouts, and bullpen ace Terry Forster, who collected five saves while limiting opposing batters to just five hits and one run over nine games, good for a 0.85 ERA. Also making an impact on the mound was rookie Bob Welch, who successfully converted from reliever to starter in July and went 3-1 with a 2.21 ERA in five starts.

At the plate, Smith led LA with a .408 average, eight home runs, and 23 RBI. Lopes’ 34 hits led the team, while Ron Cey was tops in the NL with eleven doubles. However, the most jaw-dropping stat again belongs to Smith, who has an SP78-leading seven 2-HR games this season, to go along with his 37 home runs and 90 runs batted in. The month also saw an old-timer’s game played between the ’62 Dodgers and ’62 Giants, a 7-inning contest won by LA 10-5 in front of a nostalgic crowd at Dodger Stadium.

To see the Dodgers stat page for July, click here. And remember, the boxes for league leaders, team rankings, and award totals have been purposely left blank; these figures will be added after all NL team statistics have been finalized, and July award winners have been picked.

 

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