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Trevor Hoffman will go down in history as one of the greatest closers in the history of baseball, and the first to reach 600 saves.
However, for teammates and coaches, it will be his legacy as a teammate that will be remembered even more fondly.
Former manager Bruce Bochy spoke glowingly of having Hoffman on his team.
"What's even more impressive is the person that he was," Bochy said. "I consider myself fortunate to have had Trevor as my closer all those years in San Diego. He is the best teammate that I've ever seen. He really looked after his teammates."
And then there's this heartwarming story about Hoffman's embracing of a team employee:
Nobody knows that as well as Mark Merila. The Padres bullpen catcher from 1996 to 2006 and now a member of the coaching support staff, Merila was welcomed to the big leagues by Hoffman and given a sense of belonging.
Merila was a good college infielder, good enough to be a college All-American at Minnesota and a member of the U.S. national team. But he was stricken by a brain tumor during his final college season. Although treatment got rid of the tumor, Merila's playing career was cut short, and the Padres offered the job as bullpen catcher.
Having never caught before, or been on a big-league field, Merila was unsure of himself. Hoffman went out of his way to reassure him that he belonged. Hoffman taught Merila the ropes. And after every save, he waited in the dugout until Merila and the bullpen coach made the walk back from the bullpen with the equipment bags, long after other teammates had retreated to the clubhouse.
Hoffman always shook their hands after a save, just as he had with his other teammates after the final out.
"He let us know we were part of those saves. That meant a lot," Merila said.
"He's played with Rickey Henderson, Tony Gwynn, Hall of Famers, but he treats everyone the same. Doesn't matter if it's me or a clubhouse attendant or Tony Gwynn, he treated us all like we are working together, and we all play a part in the success of the team."
Nothing spells out great teammate more than that.