Trevor Hoffman's No. 51 to be retired

SAN DIEGO -- Well, Hells Bells, look who's getting his number retired by the Padres.

Trevor Hoffman, baseball's all-time leader with 601 saves, found out Thursday that San Diego will retire his No. 51 in a ceremony Aug. 21 after a game against the Florida Marlins.

Hoffman retired in January after playing 18 big league seasons. He's a special assistant to team president Tom Garfinkel.

Garfinkel told Hoffman over breakfast Thursday that the team planned to retire his number.

"I wasn't prepared for that," Hoffman said. "It's a team game and to have an individual celebration is not something I'm comfortable with. You never really like all the light on you. I'm just looking forward to celebrating with everybody."

Hoffman was picked by the Marlins in the 1992 expansion draft and made his big league debut in 1993. After getting two saves with Florida, he was acquired by the Padres in a five-player trade on June 24, 1993, as part of San Diego's "fire sale." That trade sent Gary Sheffield to the Marlins.

"I can recall quite vividly walking into the clubhouse at Jack Murphy, coming out of a situation with Florida, the inaugural season, a new kid making the big leagues, and I wasn't prepared for the trade," Hoffman said.

"The last thing I was thinking about at the time was something like this happening, to have it turn out the way it did. To be able to work my way back to where I'm still with the organization is very special for me and my family."

Hoffman's home save opportunities were always lively, with AC/DC's "Hells Bells" blaring from the sound system the instant he started jogging in from the bullpen.

Known for his high leg kick, menacing glare and deceptive changeup, Hoffman became the career saves leader when he notched No. 479 at home on Sept. 24, 2006, breaking the previous mark of 478 by Lee Smith. The following June, Hoffman reached 500, also at home and against the rival Los Angeles Dodgers.

Hoffman had 552 saves with the Padres before playing his final two seasons with Milwaukee, where he had 47 saves.

Hoffman is enjoying his first free summer in a long time. He was on his way to pitch batting practice for one of his sons' Little League all-star team.

"I don't think they're going to care if 51's going up," Hoffman said.

He's also preparing for a family cross-country trip in an RV. He plans to make stops to see some of the Padres' minor league teams.