SAN DIEGO — Jake Peavy’s primary recollection from his amazing 2007 season isn’t the Cy Young Award. It’s not the historical Triple Crown he made or the utter supremacy he showed throughout what’s quickly the Padres’ finest pitching season of the 21st century.
No, Peavy’s mind immediately goes in other places.
“If I’ve got to be completely honest, if I’m going to be blunt and tell the truth, I’ve got to say it: That ’07 season stings,” Peavy stated. “I think about those last few games of the season. That’s what my mind goes back to.”
It’s maybe Peavy’s nature. One of the most intense rivals on the mound in current memory, Peavy won World Series with both the Giants and Red Sox. But he can’t rather shake the “what if” that remains over the Padres’ 2007 season — a season that ended in heartbreaking style with 3 squashing losses over 3 days.
The last of those, a video game begun by Peavy, included among the sport’s most notorious surfaces, in which the Rockies edged the Padres in a tiebreaking Game 163. Whether Matt Holliday really touched home base to score the winning run in the 13th inning is still a matter of substantial dispute.
It’s now been 5 years given that Peavy’s retirement, and he discovers his name on the Hall of Fame tally for the very first time. The right-hander is a long shot for election however ought to gather some votes from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America electorate. He presented a dazzling 15-year profession, in which he notched a 3.63 AGE, won 152 video games, made 3 All-Star groups and won a set of period titles.
“It’s just humbling to even be mentioned in such elite company,” Peavy stated. “It’s a bit surreal. I can tell you, it’s something I never thought one ounce about, while playing.”
Amid a profession loaded with achievements, Peavy’s 2007 project stands as the peak.
“If he’s pitching for the Yankees or the Red Sox, he’s a legend; that season is legendary,” stated Josh Bard, Peavy’s main backstop on the 2007 Padres, now the Dodgers’ bullpen coach. “That was the level of domination.”
No doubt, it was an unique season — despite the ending. From the start, Peavy constructed on the structure he had actually laid throughout his very first 5 seasons with the Padres. He permitted an overall of 2 runs in his very first 3 starts in 2007, and by mid-May he had a 1.52 AGE.
That consisted of among the most dominant stretches in franchise history, in which Peavy set out a minimum of 10 players in 4 successive video games. On April 25, he outdueled ruling Cy Young Award winner Brandon Webb, starting out 16 D-backs.
“This dude had special, special command,” Bard remembered. “I was fortunate enough to catch six Cy Young winners, and the thing that stands out about all of them is: They all have great stuff, but they can throw the ball where they want to. Jake was as good at doing that as anybody.”
It’s challenging for Peavy to identify precisely what catapulted him into the tier of the video game’s finest pitchers in 2007. He indicate the arrival of Greg Maddux, in the golden of his profession, and the lessons Maddux shared. He indicate the impact of Chris Young, the Padres’ No. 2 in 2007 and a dominant pitcher in his own right. He mentions Bard and supervisor Bud Black and pitching coach Darren Balsley.
But there’s a single person in specific who Peavy fasts to credit.
“It’s awfully uncomfortable for me to talk about myself in the way of accomplishing these things,” Peavy stated. “I had some great influences, and there was none better than my general manager, Kevin Towers. They don’t make ’em like him any more.”
Peavy harkens back to his 2006 season, in which he’d withstood a little bit of a decrease from his lofty requirements, in part due to carry problem. Up to that minute, Peavy’s development to fame had actually been direct. This was a problem.
Towers made it understood to Peavy that his self-confidence level had not altered. The late Padres GM stated openly that his group had “the best pitcher in the NL West” — a quote that resonated with Peavy. Before news of the Maddux finalizing broke, Towers called Peavy to assure him. Maddux would not be taking Peavy’s area atop the rotation. Maddux existed, in part, to be a resource for the young right-hander.
“I’m forever grateful for the lesson Kevin Towers gave me,” Peavy stated. “Even when you get great at your craft and think you’re at the top, there are lessons to be learned. The lesson I think baseball can take from this story is: I thought I had it made. I thought I was doing really good work. Then, one of my bosses said, ‘This guy can show you the keys to a different level of success.'”
Sure enough, Peavy took his video game to brand-new heights. He led the National League with 19 wins, a 2.54 period and 240 strikeouts, taping the only pitching Triple Crown in Padres history.
With Peavy blazing a trail, the Padres invested the majority of the season secured a tight NL West race. Coming off successive department titles in 2005 and ’06, they felt they were prepared to take the next action. In the eyes of Peavy and Bard, they had the pitching and defense to get them there.
“We’re a World Series team if we can finish off in Milwaukee,” Bard stated. “I really believe that. That’s what makes that game in Colorado so tough.”
Said Peavy: “It really did feel different in 2007.”
And then, it wasn’t. The ending is vicious on Peavy, thinking about how well he’d pitched all season. With the D-backs and Padres connected atop the department in early September, Peavy requested for the ball on 3 days’ rest in Arizona. He withstood his worst start of the season and his period leapt from 2.10 to 2.43.
Still, Peavy reacted in a huge method, winning his next 3 choices with a 1.90 period throughout the rest of September. The Padres required simply one success in their last 2 video games in Milwaukee to clinch the playoffs, which’s when whatever deciphered.
Tony Gwynn Jr. (of all individuals) struck a game-tying triple off Trevor Hoffman to send out the Brewers to an extra-innings success in the season’s penultimate video game, leaving the Padres with a choice. They might begin Peavy on 3 days’ rest versus the middling Brewers (who had absolutely nothing to bet). Or they might conserve Peavy for a prospective one-game tiebreaker, where whatever would be on the line in Denver.
Peavy desired the ball in Milwaukee. Of course he did. He wished to end the Wild Card race then and there. Padres decision-makers had other concepts, choosing to conserve Peavy for either Game 163 or Game 1 of the Division Series.
Turned out it would be Game 163. Brett Tomko was roughed up by Milwaukee, and Peavy was thrust into a winner-take-all start versus the sport’s most popular offense at hitter-friendly Coors Field. The rest is history (a taboo sort of history in San Diego). Peavy grinded through 6 innings without his finest things, enabling 6 runs. The video game went to the 13th, where the Padres scored 2 runs — just for the Rockies to react with 3, putting an abrupt end to Peavy’s extraordinary season.
Fifteen years later on, Peavy is retired, residing in his native Mobile, Ala., where’s he’s purchased numerous endeavors in the neighborhood, consisting of a dining establishment, a charitable structure and a recording studio.
He’s a two-time World Series champ on the Hall of Fame tally. He’s material in retirement, caring life as an “ambassador” for the city of Mobile. The sting of the 2007 season is various to Peavy now. But — for a rival of Peavy’s quality — it never ever rather disappears.
“Life goes on, you win awards, and you start to think of it in a good way,” Peavy stated of his biggest season on the mound — the best Padres pitching season this century. “We accomplished a lot. It was a special group. But [the ending] is what sticks out.”