San Diego Padres

Fri, 07 Nov 2008 20:20

The history of the San Diego Padres

Information about the MLB team San Diego Padres.

Based in San Diego, California, the San Diego Padres are in the Western Division of the National League and were founded in 1969.

The San Diego Padres: The early years

The name of the San Diego Padres was adopted from the name of a minor league Pacific Coast team that came into San Diego in 1936. The team was the winner in the 1937 PCL. They were led by Ted Williams, who was 18 back then.

The San Diego Padres, in 1969, were one of the expansion teams, along with the Seattle Pilots, the Kansas City Royals, and the Montreal Expos. Their owner was former PCL Padres owner Arnholt Smith. They were likewise managed by baseball veteran Buzzie Bavasi. However, despite the stellar roster of executive players, the team had a hard time and was finishing last. The few highlights of this era included the discovery of star slugger Nate Colbert, who gave the San Diego Padres several home runs.

The 1970s

During the mid 70s, the San Diego Padres were in danger of being sold to Washington D.C.’s Joseph Danzansky. Many thought this would push through such that new uniforms were already designed and new player cards were already printed out. At the last minute, Smith had a change of heart and sold to Ray Kroc instead. Kroc elected to keep the San Diego Padres in San Diego.

Colbert was traded in 1974 to the Detroit Tigers. New draft Dave Winfield took over his place and helped raise the team out of the bottom ranks. Winfield would leave the San Diego Padres in 1980 to join the New York Yankees, but before doing so, he would have 1,134 hits and 154 home runs in 1,117 games for the team. The San Diego Padres were likewise boosted by new manager John McNamara who came in on the same year.

Another promising star that emerged was pitcher Randy Jones. He would later win 22 games and the Cy Young Award in 1976. This again was a boost for the San Diego Padres but was not enough to get them beyond 5th place.

The year 1977 was a dismal year for the San Diego Padres, with Jone’s game play falling. George Hendrick and Winfield did their part when it came to home runs. And Rollie Fingers was even brought it. These were not enough to save the team though.

By 1978, the San Diego Padres were joined by acrobatic shortstop Ozzie Smith, Steve Garvey, and Gaylord Perry. Perry posted 21-6 that year and earned a Cy Young Award. Robert Craig was the team’s new manager. And the team posted an 84-78 win, already a record for the team.

But then again, unfortunately, this was followed by a dismal record of 68-93 in 1979. Craig was fired because of this.

The San Diego Padres: The 1980s

Winfield moved to the New York Yankees at the start of the decade. Winfield had been one of the few players to watch in the team. This resulted in a continuous so-so performance.

In 1984, tragedy struck as owner Kroc passed away because of heart disease. Team ownership was then passed on to Joan B. Kroc, Ray’s third wife. On the bright side, the San Diego Padres posted a great record for the year with 92-70. They even won the National League West championship.

The San Diego Padres by then were under the management of Dick Williams. The team had veterans like Tony Gwynn, Alan Wiggins, Garry Templeton, Graig Nettles and Steve Garvey. Their lineup also included incredible pitchers like Eric Show, Rich "Goose" Gossage, Ed Whitson, Mark Thurmond and Tim Lollar.

The San Diego Padres would make their first NLCS appearance that year. They faced the Chicago Cubs, who had baseball luminaries like Rich Sutcliffe and Ryne Sandberg in their lineup. The Cubs win the first two, but then the San Diego Padres swept off with the rest, winning their first National League Pennant.

In their first World Series in 1984, the San Diego Padres faced the Detroit Tigers, with a lineup that included Alan Trammell, Kirk Gibson, Darrell Evans, Lance Parrish, Jack Morris, Milt Wilcox, Dan Petry, and Willie Hernandez. The San Diego Padres lost four of five games.

In the last seasons of the decade though, the San Diego Padres suffered in performance. The few highlights included  Benito Santiago, a rookie catcher who was the Rookie of the Year in 1987 for hitting in 34 straight games. Likewise, another rookie Roberto Alomar made good plays with shortstop Garry Templeton.

The San Diego Padres: The 1990s until today

In the middle of 1990, owner Kroc wanted to sell the team but wanted to retain it within San Diego. Kroc found a buyer in Tom Werner, a television producer. Part of the changes was a change in color of the uniform – from brown to navy blue.

By 1992, the San Diego Padres lineup included Tony Gwynn, Tony Fernández, Gary Sheffield and Fred McGriff. Fernandez, McGriff and Sheffield would later leave for other teams.

Sheffield’s trade brought in Trevor Hoffman, the next franchise player of the San Diego Padres. Another trade was made at the end of the season for Ken Caminiti, Steve Finley, and other Houston players. By 1995, Kevin Towers was made general manager.

1996 was a great year for the San Diego Padres. Apart from having a new owner in software tycoon John Moores, they also had a new manager in ex Padres catcher Bruce Bochy.

The San Diego Padres won the NL West championship in 1996, against the Los Angeles Dodgers. They faced the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLCS and lost three games straight, 3-0.

After another bad year in 1997, the San Diego Padres went back on track with new talents like Kevin Brown and Greg Vaughn. Together with the veterans in the team, they went off to win the National League West Division championship.

The San Diego Padres competed against the Atlanta Braves in the 1988 NLCS and won, paving the way for another try at the World Series. At the World Series, they faced the New York Yankees who swept the game, 4-0.

In 2004, along with the move to cleaner and “fresher” PETCO Park, the San Diego Padres began to rack up wins again. They finished the season at third, with a record of 87-75.

Oddly, in 2005, the San Diego Padres ended the season with one of the lowest winning percentages for division champions. At the Division Championship, they faced the St. Louis Cardinals, who won in a three-game sweep.  

In 2006, they would again have another try at the Division Championship, also competing against the St. Louis Cardinal. The San Diego Padres lost, 3-1. 2006 was also the year that Bochy left the San Diego Padres for the same position with the San Francisco Giants. Bud Black was his replacement.

The San Diego Padres were off playing more solid games in 2007. They were in contention for the divisional titles but lost to the Colorado Rockies. However, team member Jake Peavy received his first Cy Young award. At the end of the season, they signed Mark Prior.

In 2008, the team finished fifth in the National League’s West Division, playing a solid game despite the poor ranking.