Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

How a Legend Earned His Theme One Man's CD Collection and Some Fortunate Timing Gave Trevor Hoffman His Famous, Loud Entrance Song

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

How a Legend Earned His Theme One Man's CD Collection and Some Fortunate Timing Gave Trevor Hoffman His Famous, Loud Entrance Song

Article excerpt

SAN DIEGO -As soon as the words tumbled out of Trevor Hoffman's mouth like one of those wicked change-ups that shaped his career, Chip Bowers buckled a bit, too.

The MLB Network interview shined some light into a corner of the closer's baseball road now green-lighted for the Hall of Fame, asking about the origin of his signature "Hells Bells" entrance music.

Hoffman mentioned Bowers, who at a critical moment in one Cooperstown timeline worked as a young guy in the Padres' corporate sales office -just a couple years removed from an internship with the team.

By the time Hoffman stepped off the mound for good, he owned a then-MLB best 601 career saves. And one song, picked from a pile of 100 or so CDs one late night in the summer of 1998, became the soundtrack behind a man and a magical season.

The two haven't talked since the days when hard rock and flailing hitters merged.

What sprouted, though, harvests smiles still.

"I went back to San Diego a couple years ago and they did the ceremonial ringing of the bell before the game when they were putting Trevor in the Ring of Honor," Bowers said. "So I rang the bell that game at the behest of Mike Dee, who was president of the team at the time. Trevor gave me a nod and pointed at me.

"They made a comment about the fact that I'm now chief marketing officer for the Golden State Warriors. I think he was a little surprised that the guy who came up with the AC/DC song for him actually made a career out of the business. He probably thought I was serving pizzas somewhere.

"It really meant a lot to me [on MLB Network], because he didn't need to do that. That day is meant to be all about Trevor. For him to take the time to mention me is a testament to the man he is and the character he has.

"He's a team player, for sure."

The dominoes that needed to fall for a raging guitar anthem and Hoffman to become intertwined became the thing of back-room baseball legend.

Former Padres outfielder Steve Finley had to play in Baltimore. Tim Young, the guy in charge of running the game-day entertainment at Qualcomm Stadium, needed to be standing on the field during batting practice one day and think of Bowers. A music-listening marathon had to stumble across an album named "Back in Black."

All those little things, led to one big thing.

On July 25, 1998, Hoffman entered a game against the Astros with a chance for a save that would tie baseball's all-time record at the time. Hoffman rode the the bells, that power, those chills to something transformative.

(Gong ... gong ... gong ... gong)

(Patient, determined guitar)

I'm rolling thunder, pouring rain,

I'm coming on like a hurricane.

"It was so perfect," former Padres President and CEO Larry Lucchino said. …

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