There it is, my friends. The incredibly elusive Padres Bullpen Buggy… or bullpen car… or bullpen cart… or bullpen helmet. Whatever you want to call it. Here’s a little background: About a month ago, I saw these bullpen buggies come across my twitter feed, so I posed the question:
— Brady Phelps (@LobShots) March 11, 2014
That’s a broadcast screengrab from the 1971 World Series. Turns out these bad boys were all the rage in the early 70′s. Paul Lukas did a nice write up on the the history of the bullpen carts for ESPN in 2007. A lot of teams had them, but I couldn’t find a Padres bullpen buggy anywhere on the world wide web. So, I went to work. I reached out to several different outlets, including inside the Padres organization, and nobody could produce a photo of the Padres bullpen buggy.
Then, Gavin, a loyal lobster, said he may be able to get his hands on one. I was doubtful… yet hopeful. Sure enough, Gavin reached out to Andy who runs Fantography.com to see if he could find a photo of a Padres bullpen buggy over the years. Andy literally spent hours and hours pouring over photos looking for one. After a couple weeks of looking, he found the buggy you see up top from 1972.
That is a special photograph. Not only is it special because it’s a photo of the bullpen cart that the internet had previously not seen, but special because of the design on the hat. I’ve researched this, and 1972 was the first year featuring this unique design with the oversized yellow front panel that stretches around to the back. It was the first attempt at the design that eventually morphed into the famous Taco Bell hats that the 1984 NL Champion Padres wore. To my knowledge, this unique cap was only worn for Sunday home games… much like the camo uniforms the Padres rock today at Sunday home games. Very curious that the Padres made a bullpen cart out of a hat they only wore on Sunday home game, right?
I know there are more photos of Padres bullpen buggies out there… if you have one, hit me up in the comments, and I’ll post it. I don’t know why I was so excited about this, but I was like a kid on Christmas when Andy found this, and Gavin sent it my way. There are tons of cool fan photos of pro athletes over at his website. Many thanks, gents.
[Pitt and O's pic from SCULU]