Padgett has visited all Major League Baseball stadiums, seen all the teams play
By Jamie H. Vaught
Especially for The Winchester Sun.
How many baseball fans have traveled across the United States and Canada, and visited all the major league baseball stadiums?
I’m sure there are some fans, but not many. And we have at least one from Kentucky.
The baseball super fan is named Michael Padgett, an enthusiastic Los Angeles Angels fan who lives in Middlesboro.
“I’ve played base games in the regular season at 37 different stadiums,” said Padgett. “I have also been to training games in the spring in about a dozen different arenas. I completed my quest to see games at all 30 stadiums in Toronto in August. 23. 2016. Then Sun Trust Park (now Truist Park in Atlanta) opened the following season, and I completed it again in April. Globe Life Field (home of the Texas Rangers) opened in 2020, but COVID-19 canceled my plans to watch a game there last year. I have tickets for the Angels-Rangers series the last week of the 2021 season. ”
Padgett, a longtime pastor at Middlesboro Church of God Mountain Assembly, was asked about his favorite ballpark.
“I’m always biased when I answer this question because I’m an avid Angels fan,” Padgett smiled. “Disneyland Park (in Anaheim, California) should be the happiest place on earth.
“But for me, it’s a few miles away at Angel Stadium. My favorite stadium without my Angels bias is Petco Park in San Diego. It is a beautiful stadium with extra wide premises, and the Western Metal Building in the left field gives the venue historical character. “Park in the park” outside the midfield is also very nice. ”
Padgett grew up in east central Indiana where he played tee ball and Little League. He said he was not a very good player, but “loved baseball for as long as I can remember.”
And the site is loaded with the fanatical fans of the Cincinnati Reds and Chicago Cubs.
“My earliest baseball memories were of the New York Yankees winning the World Cup back-to-back,” Padgett said. “My favorite player, of course, was Reggie Jackson.”
By the way, some of the younger men in his church recently paid for a video shoutout from Jackson on the cameo app for Pastor’s Appreciation Day, which celebrated the 35th anniversary of Padgett’s first sermon.
“It was so cool,” said a grateful Padgett.
His favorite team is over 2000 miles away. Why cheer on the angels?
“When Reggie Jackson signed as a free agent with the (then) California Angels before the 1982 season, my loyalty went to him, and I’ve been a fan of the Angels ever since,” Padgett explained. “It’s much easier to be a fan of a west coast team now than it was before the internet. I convinced my mother to subscribe to the evening paper when I was a teenager just because the boxing scores for the late games were included in the later issue. I’ve seen all 30 teams play at home and on the road, but I’ve still seen the Angels play the most. I’ve been to 113 Angels games (in 21 different stadiums). ”
What about the baseball cards? Did he grow up collecting cards when he was young?
“My older brothers had baseball cards first. “My younger brother and I were fascinated by them and can still identify many players from the 1970s from their Topps cards without seeing their names,” he recalled. “I started collecting cards in the early 1980s. Most of what I have now is Angels cards. I have a complete Angels team with Topps baseball cards from 1961 to 2020. ”
Padgett has seen many exciting baseball games and pointed out that it is very difficult to choose his most memorable moment or game he has seen in person.
“It’s hard to pick one,” he commented. “I was in the game when Albert Pujols hit his 500th home run, and in the game when he drove in his 2,000. RBI. Since only he, Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron have done it, it’s a big deal.
“I was also on my way home from a game in Chicago listening to the Reds game on the radio. When we hit Cincinnati and Jake Arietta had not beaten through six innings, we stopped and got a ticket to watch the last three innings. It’s my only no-hit so far. ”
During the All-Star break in 2021, Padgett has participated in 272 MLB matches in the regular season at 37 different stadiums. He has also participated in three postseason games, three All-Star games and four Home Run Derbys.
His first match was in May 1986 at the old Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati when he played the tuba as a member of his high school band in a pre-game performance.
His family often travels with him to baseball games.
“My wife (Dedra) and the kids are not as passionate about baseball as I am, but they generally enjoy participating in games with me,” he added. “Dedra and the girls (Carissa and Lauren) have seen all 30 teams play, and (son) Andrew has seen them all, except for the Yankees when our game at Yankee Stadium was calculated.”
His children, now adults, participated in sports and were outstanding at Middlesboro High School. Padgett also served as the school’s official basketball game or team goalkeeper when his children played various sports.
“Dedra always told people I had the book because it required me to behave during the game,” he said, laughing. “I have always liked being so close to the action. I kept the book for the Lady Jackets for seven seasons and just completed my sixth season for the Middlesboro boys team. ”
In addition to baseball and staff, Padgett, who holds a doctorate in management from the University of The Cumberlands, also enjoys writing and history. He also has two degrees (undergraduate and graduate) in history from Eastern Kentucky University. He recently wrote a new 525-page paperback, entitled “A Bow Tied: Ecclesiastical Polity in the Church of God Church Mountain Assembly.” And Padgett will teach a lower course in American history as an additional instructor at EKU this fall.
“I’ve always had a passion for history, and most of our family vacations have centered around baseball trips and historic sites,” he said. “I have been to the grave of every American president. I was at the grave of George Herbert Walker Bush a few years ago before he died, but have not had the chance to return yet. I’ve also visited every president’s birthplace, except Biden and Obama.
“When I have taught history, I have tried to carry on the same passion. I want to visit places like Independence Hall and Old North Church to ‘realize’ the story you are reading. I have shared photos and anecdotes about my travels when I lecture about the historical events associated with the places. ”
If you want to know something about baseball or history, just ask Dr. Padgett and he will be happy to help you.
Jamie H. Vaught, a longtime sports columnist in Kentucky, is the author of five books on British basketball, including the recently published “Chasing the Cats: A Kentucky Basketball Journey.” He is the editor and founder of KySportsStyle.com Magazine, and a professor at the Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Middlesboro. You can follow him on Twitter @KySportsStyle or reach him via email at KySportsStyle@gmail.com.