Mel Mazzera, outfield
Padres: 1941-42, 44 After compiling a .268 lifetime batting average playing for the St. Louis Browns and Philadelphia Phillies, Mel Mazzera became a San Diego Padre. He led the team in home runs, triples, total bases, and RBIs in 1941 and 1942. During 1942, he had the highest batting average (.308) and most doubles. His popularity with the fans resulted in “Mel Mazzera Day” on August 30, 1942. Mazzera became a Stockton Police Officer and retired as a sergeant after twenty-five years service.
[Mel Mazzera interview by Bill Swank, 28 January 1995, transcript notes; background information from David Hasemyer.
San Diego sold me to the Chicago White Sox in ’42, but I turned it down because Chicago wouldn’t give me what I was making in San Diego. I’d get a bonus from the Padres for hitting .300 or getting 100 RBIs and the White Sox wouldn’t give me that much. San Diego was mad, because they had to return whatever they got for me, if they got anything, so I decided to fold it up. It wasn’t worth it, so I became a policemen. San Diego told me later that if they knew I wanted to become a cop, I could have joined San Diego PD and played for the Padres, too.
As things worked out, I rejoined the club in ’44 when they would play in Sacramento, Oakland and San Francisco. I’d take vacation from the Stockton PD and go play ball for the Padres when they’d come up here.
I really enjoyed playing ball in San Diego. We sometimes wondered if we’d have been better off staying there. Eddie Pellagrini and I really enjoyed it in San Diego. They even had a special day for me. The fans were good.