I have thirteen cards of Greg Booker. This one is from 1985 Topps.
Playing career: Greg Booker pitched eight years in the major leagues, almost entirely with the Padres. In 161 games he went 5-7 with a 3.89 ERA. His best season was 1984, when he was a key part of the bullpen for the NL pennant winners, going 1-1 with a 3.30 ERA in 32 games. A fuller account of his career can be found at the Greatest 21 Days and the 1985 Topps blogs.
Interesting facts: Booker and Kristi McKeon, daughter of Padres’ general manager Jack McKeon, were high school sweethearts who got married after Booker was drafted by the Padres. Claims of nepotism dogged him throughout his Padres’ career, especially in 1989, when he was one of many Padres struggling mightily. A 1989 LA Times article by Bill Plaschke highighted these struggles. One aspect of the article that caught my eye was that Tony Gwynn was interviewed by Plaschke and given the chance to defend Booker, which Gwynn did not do, weaseling out with, “The bottom line with Book is, it's hard to verify that he hasn't had special treatment, or that he has had special treatment.” I remember reading after Gwynn’s death how he had difficulties with Mike Pagliarulo when the Yankees traded him to the Padres in 1989 and Pags claimed Gwynn was a bad teammate. Most articles now portray Pagliarulo negatively but this seems to be an example of where Gwynn had a chance to stick up for one of his teammates but did not do so. Booker himself had a great line in the article – “Do they really think I went through the National League Green Book looking for general managers with daughters?”
One of Booker’s sons, Zach, played five seasons in the minor leagues. Another son, Avery, has sold some of his father’s memorabilia on the “Game Used Universe” forum.
Where he is now: A scout for the Dodgers.
My memories: Only know him from his card.
Coming up next: The next profile will be Rod Booker.