San Diego Padres Mount Rushmore: The Little Team That Could
Being a fan of the San Diego Padres is a tough task. Now that they’re the only team left in the city, you really have no choice but to root for the Padres if you live in the area. Historically, the team has been around for over 50 years and have basically nothing to show for it. They’ve won the National League pennant twice but don’t have a World Series championship. They are basically the Mets without a ring, but this is not to say they haven’t had decent players in their less-than-eventful history.
Where would San Diego be without Tony Gwynn? This man gave the city something to cheer about during the team’s darkest days. He is so closely tied to San Diego, he even was a start college athlete for San Diego State University and also was their head coach for a stretch. Gwynn went on to become one of the best pure hitters of all time dominating the eighties and nineties. He played his entire 20-year career with San Diego earning the nickname Mr. Padre. In those years he appeared in 15 all-star games and won seven Silver Slugger awards. He is still the closest player to batting .400 in a single season since Ted Williams, batting .394 in 1994. Although he never won a ring, his name is enshrined in Cooperstown.
Next on the list is the National League’s answer to Mariano Rivera. Hoffman played 16 seasons for San Diego, shutting the door on the ninth inning seemingly every chance he got. For a while, he held the record for most saves at 601 until Mo passed him. He appeared in six All-Star games for San Diego and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2018. Perhaps his best season came in 1998, leading the majors in saves with 52 and posting a 1.48 Earned Run Average.
Believe it or not, the Padres had a star player in the 1970s by the name of Dave Winfield. He played eight seasons for San Diego, pounding 154 home runs and driving in 626 runs. He appeared in four all-star games and defensively won two gold glove awards in right field. His best season as a Padre came in 1979 leading the National League in Runs Batted in with 118 while also hitting 34 home runs, batting .308 in the process. Unfortunately, San Diego being the team they are sent Winfield to the New York Yankees in 1981. He does appear in Cooperstown though.
This man is the greatest starting pitcher the Padres ever had. Not that it’s saying much, but Peavy accomplished a lot as a big-league pitcher. During his eight-year tenure with San Diego, he won 92 games and has a 3.29 Earned Run Average from that span. That’s not all. He won the Cy Young Award in 2007 winning the pitcher’s triple crown. Peavy led the league in wins with 19, ERA with 2.54, and strikeouts with 240. He also appeared in that year’s All-Star game. His time, although short, featured the best in terms of pitching accomplishments. I don’t think he’ll go to Cooperstown, but he’s still a great player with a solid career.
If the San Diego Padres featured all these players on one team, they’d be a juggernaut. What’s interesting is the current Padres team is staring greatness in the face. They are stacked with Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, and Wil Myers, wreaking serious havoc in the National League West. These players could have a chance to end up on this list once their careers are over.