Top 50 San Diego Padres

Founded in 1969, the San Diego Padres have had their share of star players, but it has yet to result in a World Series win, though they have won the National League Pennant twice (1984 & 1998).  

The team has lost far more Games than they have won but has a unique history, solid fan base, and hopefully, unlike the Chargers, are not going anywhere.

This list is up to the end of the 2021 regular season.

Note: Baseball lists are based on an amalgamation of tenure, traditional statistics, advanced statistics, playoff statistics, and post-season accolades.

Sometimes, when we do our top 50 in a franchise, it is challenging to determine the man who tops the list.  This is not one of those times. Tony Gwynn is not only the greatest San Diego Padre ever; he is one of the best hitters the game ever saw.  Gwynn's dedication to plate discipline and studying film would become a template for others to follow, and it yielded a bounty of hits. Gwynn debuted for San Diego in 1982, and two years later, he was the Padres' regular Rightfielder and firmly established as one of the National League's premier hitters.  Gwynn helped…
The San Diego Padres raised concerns in the summer of 1993 when they traded Gary Sheffield to Florida, but one of the players they received in return was Trevor Hoffman, a rookie reliever who would become the best Relief Pitcher in National League history. Hoffman would become their closer the following year, and he would soon prove himself as a dominating presence.  He would enter the game to the ominous opening of AC/DC's "Hells Bells," and in 1998, he led the NL in Saves (53) and took the Padres to the World Series.  They fell to the Yankees, but they would have…

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Jake Peavy debuted in the Majors in 2002, roughly three years after he was a throwaway pick (15th Round) in the Amateur Draft.   A righthanded starter, Peavy never left the Padres rotation for the entirety of his seven-year stay, with him emerging as the staff ace in 2004.  In that season, Peavy led the NL in ERA (2.27) and would be named to the All-Star Game the following season, this time finishing the year with a 2.88 ERA and a league-leading 216 Strikeouts. After a disappointing 2006, Peavy had the best year of his career, winning the Pitcher's Triple Crown (19 Wins,…
A two-sport star in Minnesota, Dave Winfield easily could have had a career in professional basketball.  Instead, he opted for the diamond, and the Padres used their Fourth Overall Pick to take the prodigy. Winfield started immediately for the Padres, bypassing the minors.  While he was a good Pitcher, San Diego wanted his bat, and he was used in Rightfield, a position he took too quickly.  Winfield hit 20 Home Runs in 1974 and was gradually improving and made his first All-Star Game in 1977, the first of what would be 12 straight.  He belted 25 Home Runs that year, 24 the next, and…
Randy Jones might be one of the most unexpected and forgotten Cy Young winners in history, but this was not a one-season wonder, as many might misremember.  Jones broke in the Majors with the Padres in 1973, going 7-6, but his sophomore year was abysmal.  While it was evident that Jones had talent, San Diego was not very good, and he lost a league-leading 22 Games against only 8 Wins and a 4.45 ERA.  He remained on the rotation going into 1975, and while the Padres brass knew the potential was there, what Jones put forth had to feel like it came…
Andy Ashby was traded during his third Major League Season from the expansion Colorado Rockies in 1993 to San Diego, and it was as a Padre where Ashby shone brightest. The Righthanded Pitcher, who arrived as the "player to be named later," finished off '93 better than in Colorado, though considering he had an 8.50 ERA with the Rockies, that did not say much.  Ashby was much better in 1994 (6-11, 3.40 ERA), but in 1995, he cemented himself as a valuable part of the Padres staff, with a 12-10 Record and a 2.94 ERA. Ashby had respectable years in 1996…
Gene Tenace made his mark as a vital member of the Oakland Athletics three consecutive World Series wins (1972-74), but like all of their stars, he was off to another team in 1977.  For Tenace, he stayed in the state, joining San Diego as a Free Agent. Tenace was with the Padres for four years, and while he was never a feared hitter, he was an intelligent one.  The Catcher knew how to get on base, drawing over 100 Walks in his first three years in San Diego, including leading the National League with 125 in his first year as a Padre.  Tenace…
A First Overall Pick in 2000, Adrian Gonzalez was drafted by the Florida Marlins, but a wrist injury in the minors convinced the team that he would not become a bona fide Major League player.  Gonzalez was traded to Texas, where he eventually made the main roster, but the Rangers deemed him expendable, and he was traded to San Diego, the city he grew up in. Gonzalez would quickly take over for the injured Ryan Klesko at First Base, and he proved the Marlins assessment wrong.  The First Baseman had 173 Hits, 24 Home Runs, and batted .304 in his first year…
Andy Benes began his Major League career with the San Diego Padres in 1989, a year after they took him with the First Overall Pick in the Amateur Draft. Benes was fifth in Rookie of the Year voting, going 6-3 with a 3.51 ERA in ten Starts, and over the next five years, he was the Padres top Pitcher.  He won 15 Games in both 1991 and 1993, the latter year earning him a trip to the All-Star Game.  After struggling in 1995, Benes was traded to Seattle, and as a Padre, he won 69 Games against 75 Losses with 1,036 Strikeouts.
Ken Caminiti made his first All-Star Game in the strike-shortened 1994 Season, his eighth in Houston.  In a push to get younger, Caminiti was part of a 12-man trade to San Diego in the winter, and with the Padres, he embarked on the best run of his career. Caminiti’s power game exploded (he later admitted to using PEDs), and he had his first 20-plus Home Run year, belting 26, while also batting over .300 for the first time.  His second year as a Padre was his best in Baseball, winning the MVP with career-highs in Home Runs (40), RBIs (130), and the…
An original Padre, Nate Colbert, was plucked from the Houston Astros in the Expansion Draft.  Colbert became the Padres starting First Baseman, and while he was not the best contact hitter, he was good with the power aspect.  Over his first five years in San Diego, Colbert hit at least 22 Home Runs, with seasons of 38 in 1970 and 1972.   Colbert was an All-Star three straight years (1971-73) and finished eighth in MVP voting in the middle year. Back problems reduced his effectiveness, and after a poor 1974 season, he was traded to Detroit.  Colbert accumulated 163 Home Runs with the Padres.
Taken number one overall in the 1975 Amateur Draft, Gene Richards debuted two years later for the Padres with a solid rookie year, batting .290 and setting a then-rookie record for Stolen Bases (56).   Richards kept it up for the Padres as a decent leadoff hitter, swiping more bases and batting over .300 twice, 1978 and 1980.  He would also notably lead the NL in Triples in 1981 (12), Singles in 1980 (155), and defensively led all the NL Leftfielders in Assists. Richards bolted San Diego for San Francisco as a Free Agent in 1984, but he never performed as well…
Terry Kennedy played the first three years of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals before he was traded in 1981 to San Diego.  It was a great opportunity for the Catcher, who now had the chance to play every day. In his first season with the Padres, Kennedy batted .301 and was named to the All-Star Team.  Kennedy was not an All-Star in 1982, but he had his best power season, posting personal bests in Doubles (42) and Home Runs (21) while again flirting with .300.  He would show moderate power, hitting at least 10 Home Runs from 1983 to 1986, adding…
Benito Santiago played for nine teams over his 20 years in the Majors, and this might make him seem like he was a journeyman.  That might be what he became, but when his career began in San Diego, he was considered by many to be the best young Catcher in Baseball. The Puerto Rican was signed in 1982 and debuted for the Padres four years later, appearing in 17 Games, thus keeping his rookie eligibility for the following year.  That allowed Santiago, who took over as the starting Catcher, to win the Rookie of the Year, and he arguably had his best…
Ed Whitson played eight of his 15 seasons with the San Diego Padres, over two stints, he first a two-year run from 1983 to 1984. Whitson, who first joined San Diego from a trade from Cleveland, struggled in 1983, with a 4.30 ERA and 5-7 record, but he had a much better season in 1984, winning 14 Games against 8 Losses and reducing his ERA to 3.24 with a 1.180 WHIP.  He signed with the Yankees as a Free Agent the following year but returned midway through the 1986 Season. Whitson did not have a good return, finishing the year with…
A star at the University of Tennessee, Chase Headley parlayed his run as a Volunteer to a Second Round Pick in the 2006 Amateur Draft.  Headley would make it briefly to the Majors (with San Diego) the following season. Headley began 2007 in the Minors, but by June, he was back in San Diego and would become a starter before long.  Headley showed gradual improvement over the next four years, first playing in Leftfield but moving to Third Base, where he played most of his career.  In 2012, Headley would have the season of his life, posting career-bests in Home Runs (31), RBIs…
Brian Giles was an underrated baseball player, amassing 1,897 Hits over his career, 872 as a Padre, the team he played his last six years and change with to close out his career. Giles was traded in late August 2003 from Pittsburgh, where he was a two-time All-Star.  The Outfielder still had a lot left, and over the next three years, he secured at least 159 Hits, the best season being in 2005, where he led the NL in Walks (119), batted .301, and his .423 OBP was third in the NL.  Notably, he was ninth in MVP voting, his highest finish. Giles…
Save for the last season of his career when he played for Oakland, Eric Show played his Major League career with the San Diego Padres, where he mainly played as a member of their rotation for a decade. Show debuted in 1981, and by 1983, Show was a fixture of the Padres starting staff.  He would post back-to-back 15 Win seasons in 1983 and 1984, with the latter year seeing San Diego win the Pennant.  Show remained a middle-of-the-rotation guy for San Diego until 1990, never going to the All-Star Game, but always a serviceable asset. Show would be a controversial figure…
As of this writing, Fernando Tatis Jr. has only been with the San Diego Padres for three seasons, but he is one of the most exciting players in the game and has so much more ahead of him. The Chicago White Sox first signed the son of a 14-Year veteran, Fernando Tatis, Tatis Jr. as an Amateur Free Agent in 2015, but before he played an organized game in the ChiSox organization, he was traded to the Padres in a move that will haunt White Sox for years to come.  Tatis Jr. climbed up the Padres organization, making the Friars in…