Old O's chime in, ring 'Bells' for Hoffman Closer enjoys sounds of '89, thanks to Finley, Steinberg

October 23, 1998|By Ken Rosenthal

SAN DIEGO -- It was the closest thing you'll ever see to the scene in "Major League," when the home crowd erupts as the Charlie Sheen character enters to the strains of "Wild Thing."

Crowds of 65,000-plus rose in a deafening salute for San Diego closer Trevor Hoffman whenever AC/DC's "Hell's Bells" sounded on Qualcomm Stadium's public address system in the postseason.

And the inspiration came from the 1989 Orioles.

Padres vice president Charles Steinberg, formerly with the Orioles, said outfielder Steve Finley approached him earlier in the season and asked him to come up with a song for Hoffman.

Finley, a member of the '89 Orioles, recalled that Steinberg played "Wild Thing" to hail the entrance of rookie closer Gregg Olson. And he wanted to see the San Diego crowd whipped into the same kind of frenzy.

"I tried 'Wild Thing' one day, and I was embarrassed," Steinberg said after the Padres were swept by the New York Yankees in the World Series. "You feel like you're reaching into your old bag of tricks.

"I tried another song, the Fabulous Thunderbirds' 'Wrap It Up.' The crowd really wasn't getting it. I spread the word around the office -- 'We've got to come up with a song.' Chip Bowers, a young kid in corporate sales, said, 'You know that "Hell's Bells" by AC/DC?' I said, 'Uh, no.' He said, 'You've got to give it a try.'

"We played it. The crowd went nuts. Trevor thought it was great. Finley thought it was great. We didn't stop. It turned San Diego on to the aura surrounding the closer's role."

Pub Date: 10/23/98

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