1978 O-Pee-Chee #78 Dave Winfield - I love this card. All the yellow, oranges, and browns look great, and the retro uniform and font are great.

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:

Rk Player WAR/pos From To
1 Tony Gwynn 65.3 1982 2001
2 Dave Winfield 30.5 1973 1980
3 Gene Tenace 18.9 1977 1980
4 Adrian Gonzalez 18.6 2006 2010
5 Gene Richards 17.7 1977 1983
6 Ken Caminiti 16.7 1995 1998
7 Phil Nevin 16.4 1999 2005
8 Brian Giles 16.0 2003 2009
9 Nate Colbert 16.0 1969 1974
10 Terry Kennedy 15.5 1981 1986
11 Ryan Klesko 14.6 2000 2006
12 Benito Santiago 13.0 1986 1992
13 Roberto Alomar 11.7 1988 1990
14 Kevin McReynolds 11.5 1983 1986
15 Bip Roberts 11.4 1986 1995
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/20/2012.

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:

Rk Player WAR From To
1 Trevor Hoffman 25.0 1993 2008
2 Jake Peavy 23.2 2002 2009
3 Andy Ashby 21.6 1993 2004
4 Andy Benes 19.4 1989 1995
5 Randy Jones 18.9 1973 1980
6 Greg Harris 15.1 1988 1993
7 Joey Hamilton 14.8 1994 1998
8 Ed Whitson 14.7 1983 1991
9 Eric Show 14.2 1981 1990
10 Bruce Hurst 14.0 1989 1993
11 Dave Dravecky 11.3 1982 1987
12 Dave Roberts 9.4 1969 1971
13 Clay Kirby 8.6 1969 1973
14 Kevin Brown 8.3 1998 1998
15 Mark Davis 8.1 1987 1994
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 5/20/2012.

Wowsers. Trevor Hoffman…sure. Jake Peavy? Yeah, oh. Andy Ashby? Umm…

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:

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