Hoffman's strength grew from his sturdy roots

Parents, brothers influenced closer

Hoffman's strength grew from his sturdy roots

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Everyone to some degree is a product of their roots.

Which explains why Trevor Hoffman is Trevor Hoffman.

"Mom and dad had a lot of experience with my two brothers before I came along," Hoffman once said. "They pretty much had it down. And my brothers had a big influence on me. They were more like mentors than playmates."

Trevor's oldest brother Greg was 14 when Trevor was born. Glenn was almost 10.

"The age difference created a different relationship between us and Trevor," Glenn Hoffman said in 2014 before Trevor's induction ceremony into the Padres Hall of Fame. "We taught him a lot of what we had learned."

Many of those lessons started with Ed and Mikki Hoffman, who bestowed athletic prowess as well as a strong sense of values and propriety upon their sons.

Ed was a Marine who fought on Iwo Jima in World War II. After the war he was a professional singer before settling with Mikki in the Southern California community of Bellflower. A postal worker by day, Ed Hoffman became known as the "Singing Usher" of Anaheim Stadium - frequently performing National Anthems plus "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during seventh-inning stretches.

Mikki was a ballerina when she met Ed. Before World War II, Mikki's father was a professional soccer player in England.

"They were hands on and supportive," said Glenn. "But if you got too much of yourself, they let you know. They were pretty good at reeling us in while letting us develop and explore."

In 2002 during ceremonies at Williamsport, Pa., Mikki Hoffman accepted the George and Barbara Bush Little League Parents of the Year Award on behalf of herself and her late husband for their years of service to the Northwest Anaheim Little League.

"As a kid, I really looked up to Glenn," Trevor Hoffman recalled years ago. "Greg was pretty much out of high school by the time I realized what was really going on. But Glenn was a great high school athlete."

But Greg also had a strong influence on his younger brother. Hoffman remembers Greg's words after Trevor's first Little League game.

"He asked me how it went," said Trevor. "I said 'I went 2-for-4 with a double and drove in a run. Greg gave me a bad look. 'When I ask you how you did, it's about how the team did . . . there's more to all this than you.' I never forgot that. It rings in my ears to this day."

Glenn Hoffman won All-Orange County honors in baseball at Savanna High in Anaheim and was also all-league in basketball. In June of 1976, Glenn was the second-round pick of the Boston Red Sox. Into his first professional contract, Glenn Hoffman demanded a clause that said if he reached the Major Leagues with the Red Sox, Ed Hoffman would sing the National Anthem at Fenway Park. The Red Sox kept their promise on Opening Day of 1981.

Trevor's life started off differently than his older brothers. When he was six weeks old, Trevor's left kidney was surgically removed due to an arterial blockage. The loss of a kidney prevented Trevor from playing football or wrestling.

Trevor was a pitcher in Little League. But when he was 12, Ed, fearful that coaches might abuse his arm, told Trevor that he wasn't pitching anymore.

"I wasn't happy," said Trevor. "But dad was right and probably set up things for the future. Had I kept pitching then, you never know."

Hoffman played shortstop at Savanna High. But he was just 5-foot-6 and 130 pounds. When he graduated, he wasn't drafted. He wasn't even offered a college scholarship. But he grew by three inches after his season and blossomed as a player at Cypress College. That led to playing two seasons for the University of Arizona in 1988-1989.

In June of 1989, Trevor Hoffman was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds as a shortstop. He signed two days later. Trevor Hoffman was on his way as a professional baseball player.