In recognition of the San Diego Padres’ upcoming season-long 50th Anniversary celebration, we’ve already taken a look back at the team’s two National League Championship pennant seasons, in 1984 (see here) and 1998 (see here). It’s now time to choose the Padres’ 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.
Compared to the major-market ball clubs with their high payroll$, the small-market Padres haven’t had a lot of big-name stars. Relatively few quality players have had long tenures with a club that can’t afford to keep free-agent All Stars on the roster. With that said, here’s my take on the Padres’ 50th Anniversary All-Time Team:
- C – Benito Santiago (1986-1992) – The 1987 NL Rookie of the Year wowed players and fans alike by throwing out base-runners from his knees.
- 1B – Adrian Gonzalez (2006-2010) – The three-time All-Star is second in career HRs with 161 only behind Nate Colbert’s 163.
- 2B – Mark Loretta (2003-2005) – The Padres were not overloaded with All-Star-caliber players at the second base position, but Loretta was outstanding both offensively and defensively.
- SS – Garry Templeton (1982-1991) – Gave the Padres ten solid years at shortstop despite sore knees. Had a rifle for an arm.
- 3B – Ken Caminiti (1995-1998) – NL MVP in 1996. Struck fear in the heart of every opposing pitcher. Leads all Padres hitters in SLG (.540) and OPS (.924). Career tainted by the admitted use of PEDs. Died of drug abuse in 2004.
- OF – Dave Winfield (1973-1980) – Four times an All-Star before being lured away by Yankee dollars.
- OF – Steve Finley (1995-1998) – Easily the best center fielder to wear the Padres uniform. Awarded three Gold Gloves in his four-year tenure with the club.
- OF – Tony Gwynn (1982-2001) – They don’t call him “Mr. Padre” for nothing. 3141 hits, a lifetime .338 BA, sixteen All-Star appearances, and inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.
- Pitcher – Randy Jones (1973-1980) – Won the Cy Young award in 1976 as the best pitcher in the National League.
- Pitcher – Eric Show (1981-1990) – Show’s 100 wins tops all Padres pitchers.
- Pitcher – Jake Peavy (2002-2008) – 92 wins and a 3.29 ERA. The winner of the 2007 NL Cy Young Award.
- Reliever – Trevor Hoffman (1993-2008) – 552 saves and a 2.76 ERA. Six-time All-Star. The best closer of his era. Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018.
Special mention: There’s too many players to name, but some of my other favorites of the past include Roberto Alomar (2B), Andy Ashby (P), Heath Bell (P), Kevin Brown (P), Joe Carter (1B), Nate Colbert (1B), Steve Garvey (1B), Brian Giles (OF), Goose Gossage (P), Kahlil Greene (SS), Wally Joyner (1B), Terry Kennedy (C), Ryan Klesko (OF), Fred McGriff (1B), Phil Nevin (3B), Bip Roberts (2B), Gary Sheffield (3B), Ozzie Smith (SS), and Greg Vaughn (OF).
Is there a spiritual bottom line to all of this blathering about the Padres? Actually, there is. Tune in next week.
Newsflash!: Yesterday, the Padres signed free-agent slugger, Manny Machado, to a $300 million, ten-year contract. Will Machado be the marquee franchise player the Padres can build a pennant winner around or will he turn out to be the club’s biggest bust?