The San Diego Padres have hit middle age, the stage where many men are buying convertibles and doing the combover. Maybe the franchise, founded in 1969, needs vanity like that: The Padres are still seeking their first World Series championship.
At least the weather’s great, right? Losing in San Diego is better than winning in many other cities.
Yet, the team has shown recently it will spend money to pursue a World Series title. Until that happens, the beach is always open.
Once, in the early 1970s, when the Padres were being blown out on opening day, team owner Ray Kroc, who made billions selling hamburgers and fries through his McDonald’s franchise, grabbed the ballpark PA mic and chastised his players.
“I have good news and bad news,” Kroc said into the microphone that blasted across the ballpark. “The good news is that the Dodgers drew 31,000 for their opener and we’ve drawn 39,000 for ours. The bad news is that this is the most stupid baseball playing I’ve ever seen.”
Talk about a McRant.
Anyway, here are our selections for the greatest Padres roster ever assembled.
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Padres All-Time Roster
Terry Kennedy, Catcher, 1981-1986
Without Kennedy behind the dish for the 1984 Padres, that team probably doesn’t win the pennant. The 1984 Padres are still the most popular team in franchise history, and the fiery Kennedy was the unquestioned leader. In six seasons for the Padres, Kennedy was a three-time All-Star catcher. He hit .274 in the brown and yellow.
Honorable Mention: Benito Santiago
Adrián González, First Base, 2007-2010
The San Diego native was a tough out in the middle of the lineup for his hometown team. González averaged 32 homers and 100 RBI in five seasons as a Padre. He won two Gold Gloves too, and was fourth in MVP voting in 2010.
Honorable Mention: Nate Colbert, Steve Garvey
Roberto Alomar, Second Base, 1988-1990
Alomar went on to more fame (and infamy) elsewhere, but his roots were in SoCal. The second-generation infielder was an All-Star in 1990, and hit .283 with 30 steals per season for the Padres. He eventually won 10 Gold Gloves and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Honorable Mention: Bip Roberts
Ozzie Smith, Shortstop, 1978-1981
What is it about the Padres and letting Hall of Famers go? Ozzie was clearly a generational talent when he was in San Diego. Just watch this play to see how amazing he was as an acrobat in the field. But the star shortstop got into a feud with Kroc and was traded to the Cardinals after the 1981 season. In St. Louis he added 11 Gold Gloves (for a total of 13), and became Hall of Fame-worthy.
Honorable Mention: Garry Templeton, Fernando Tatis Jr.
Manny Machado, Third Base, 2019-present
In nearly four seasons as a Padre, Machado has developed into a mature slugger. His defense has always been very good, and he has one of the strongest arms we’ve seen at the hot corner in many years. Machado turned 30 in July, so he has many years left, and he’s topped 30 home runs six times, twice for the Padres.
Honorable Mention: Ken Caminiti, Chase Headley
Dave Winfield, Left Field, 1973-1980
Big Dave played mostly in right field when he was in San Diego, but he had about two years where he was also in left. Drafted by four teams in three pro sports (baseball, basketball, football), Winfield went on to a Hall of Fame career, though half of it was (surprise!) played elsewhere. He topped 3,000 hits and 400 home runs and was a five-tool player.
Honorable Mention: Phil Nevin
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Steve Finley, Center Field, 1995-1998
The Pads are still waiting for their first longtime superstar center fielder. But Finley was excellent for a brief stretch in the uniform. He had one of the best seasons ever by a Padre in 1996: .298, 126 runs, 195 hits, 45 doubles, nine triples, 30 homers, 95 RBI, and 22 steals. If that weren’t enough, he also won the Gold Glove, one of two he copped with San Diego. He averaged 100 runs, 20 homers, and 21 steals for the Padres.
Honorable Mention: Kevin McReynolds
Tony Gwynn, Right Field, 1982-2001
So great they dubbed him “Mr. Padre,” Gwynn is a legend, and the only superstar the franchise has yet to keep throughout his career. A San Diego native, Gwynn won eight batting titles, topped .350 an incredible seven times, and had at least 200 hits in five seasons. He’s a member of the 3,000 hit club, batted .338, was a Gold Glove right fielder, and also stole as many as 56 bases in a season.
Honorable Mention: Brian Giles
Ryan Klesko, Designated Hitter, 2000-2006
It’s tough to select a DH for a National League team, but Klesko fits the role. He was a masher in his six full seasons with the Padres: 133 home runs, which rank sixth in franchise history. We could also pick Fred “Crime Dog” McGriff, whose .906 OPS is the second-best for the Padres. Pick your favorite, and you won’t go wrong.
Jake Peavy, Starting Pitcher, 2002-2009
While he never threw particularly hard, Peavy was incapable of tossing a baseball straight. That movement led to his success: He won 92 games for San Diego, and in 2007 he won the Cy Young Award when he led the league in wins, ERA, and strikeouts.
Gaylord Perry, Starting Pitcher, 1978-1979
By the time Perry got to the Padres he looked a bit silly in the brown-and-yellow pullover polyester jersey of the Padres. But no one was laughing when he was on the hill. Perry used his patented slobbery wet spitter to win the Cy Young for the Padres in 1978 (21-6, 2.73 ERA). He wasn’t in SD long, but the future Hall of Famer was an ace presence on bad teams.
Andy Ashby, Starting Pitcher, 1993-1999, 2004
The first of two Andys on this team. Ashby was solid if unspectacular for the Padres. He was named an All-Star twice, and in 1998, he had a 2.08 ERA in two starts in the NLCS, which San Diego won to advance to its second World Series.
Andy Benes, Starting Pitcher, 1989-1995
A tall righty with an overhand fastball that helped Benes finish among league leaders in Ks (he led the NL in 1994). In 1994 he finished fifth in Cy Young voting.
Randy Jones, Starting Pitcher, 1973-1980
We have two Andys, why not a Randy? The first true ace of the Padres, Jones won the 1976 Cy Young Award when he used his sinker and knee-high fastball to lead the league with 22 wins, 40 starts, and 315+(!) innings. The southpaw was great the previous season too, when he finished second in NL Cy Young voting and led the leage in ERA.
Honorable Mention: Eric Show, Ed Whitson, Andy Hawkins, Bruce Hurst, Joey Hamilton, Chris Young
Trevor Hoffman, Closer, 1993-2008
This choice is easy. What Gwynn was on the lineup side, Hoffman was for the Padres bullpen. For 16 seasons, the tall right-hander dominated the NL as a closer specialist. Originally an infielder, Hoffman had a pitch that was neatly unhittable: a circle change that dove in on lefties and away from right-handed hitters. He’s one of only two relievers to save as many as 600 games, and Hoffman saved at least 40 nine times. Twice the Hall of Famer finished second in NL Cy Young Award voting.
Honorable Mention: Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Mark Davis
Dick Williams, Manager, 1982-1985
Once asked for his secret to being a good manager, Williams said, “Never let the team know you’re worried.” Williams was good at it, if he was worried. He managed three different franchises to a pennant, including the 1984 Padres. In a Hall of Fame career that spanned 22 seasons he won more than 1,500 games. In four seasons in Ron Burgundy’s favorite city, his teams never finished below .500.
Honorable Mention: Bruce Bochy, Bud Black