Rudy Regalado, third base
Padres: 1957-59 Rudy appeared on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1957 as the third baseman on the All Minor League All-Star Team. That season, he led the Padres with a .306 batting average. From 1954 through 1956, Regalado played for the Cleveland Indians. He appeared in all four World Series games in 1954 and compiled a .333 lifetime Series batting average. He played baseball for USC.
[Rudy Regalado, interview by Bill Swank and Bill Capps, 20 December 1994, transcript notes; interview by Bill Swank, 25 January 1995, transcript notes.]
When I came to San Diego, I was appreciative of the friendliness of those connected with the Padres. We came to town on the Cabrillo Freeway through Balboa Park and I didn’t realize how beautiful San Diego was. The single ballplayers and a lot of the coaches lived at the San Diego Hotel on Broadway. We would walk to Lane Field. All the sailors in their white uniforms and the locker clubs and uniform shops along the way are still fresh in my memory. The charm was the closeness of the people in those days. We had a short rightfield fence, too. I wish I had been a left-handed hitter.
During the 1957 season, the Padres were battling with San Francisco for first place in the PCL. Joe Gordon was the Seals manager and it was raining hard at Lane Field. Gordon wanted the doubleheader called, but the umpires wouldn’t budge. Joe tried to convince them that the field was unplayable. When words didn’t work, he went to third base. Running full speed, he did a Pete Rose, head first slide into home and splattered mud all over the umpire. They called the games off!
In 1958, [Padre manager] Catfish Metkovich wanted Howie Rodemoyer to come in from the bullpen to pitch in a tight spot. He kept signaling for Rodemoyer, but he didn’t appear. Finally, Jimmie Reese ran out to the bullpen and asked, “Where is he?” The response was, “He’s in Mobile.” Apparently Howie had one more option left to go to the lower minors, so [GM Ralph] Kiner shipped him off that morning, but he forgot to tell his manager.
One time, I went in to pinch hit late in a tight game. I missed the squeeze sign from Catfish who was coaching at third. I was swinging as Earl Averill, Jr. was coming to the plate and I almost hit him. Metkovich was very angry and he fined me $100, which was a lot of money in 1957. A year later, in a game against Seattle, with an oh-two count and trailing by a run in the late innings, I jumped on a curve and hit a home run to win the game. To my surprise, Ralph [Kiner] gave me a check for $100 exactly. He remembered.
San Diego was a great place to play ball. It’s got the climate, good fans and it’s a great place to raise kids. A final memory I have of old Lane Field was that every time someone flushed the clubhouse toilets, the showers went cold!