Here’s a bit of history about the Padres. In their first season in 1969, they lost a whopping 110 games. They finished last in the NL West every year for their first 6 seasons until finally finishing 4th in 1975. Over the next 8 seasons, they moved around from 4th to 6th. Then, all of a sudden, in 1984, they vaulted to 1st place and made it to the World Series. The following year, they put up their first 3rd-place finish, but didn’t finally put up a 2nd-place finish until 1989 in their 21st season.
Anyway…let’s take a look at the best players this team has ever had.Here are the WAR leaders among batters:
OK right off…even though Tony Gwynn was a first-ballot Hall of Famer, was he still underrated? His lead here is insane, especially since Dave Winfield is barely associated with the Padres by many people. The rest of the list is populated by players who were either great for the Padres in their pre-free-agency years and then went elsewhere, or good players who came to the Padres for the back half of their careers.
Think that list is bad? Check out the pitchers:
Notice that Kevin Brown makes the top 15 on the strength of a single spectacular season.
Special mention should be made of Ken Caminiti. Although his MVP season was a fluke (and probably steroid-fueled) he was a great player for this franchise. His post-season record was great, including 3 homers in the 1996 NLDS and 2 more in the 1998 NLCS.
Another guy who didn’t make the lists above is Steve Garvey. He played the equivalent of about 4 full seasons with the Padres and had an OPS+ of 100, but drove in 7 runs in the 1984 NLCS and 2 more in the 1984 World Series. He was an important star player on the team, even if he was past his prime.
Jim Leyritz put up 3 HR and 5 RBI in the 1998 NLDS and 4 more RBI in the 1998 NLCS.
Anyway…sort of some tough choices here. Please pick 4: