Celebrate the All-Star Game's return to San Diego with five of the best Padres All-Stars
When the All-Stars take the field in orange-and-brown splendor next week, those colors will pay tribute to San Diego's long and proud baseball history.
The Padres don't have a World Series title or a no-hitter to their name, but the city's baseball lineage traces back even beyond a young Ted Williams taking his hacks with the Padres of the Pacific Coast League, long before the Majors marched to the West Coast.
Today, let's look back at five of the franchises' greatest contributors to All-Star Game history.
While Benito Santiago (Four All-Star appearances with the Padres), Adrian Gonzalez (three ASG) and Jake Peavy (two ASG) all played an important part in the Padres' franchise history and All-Star history, they don't make our top five.
Of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't mention the Padres' first All-Star representative: Chris Cannizzaro. The catcher made it to the 1969 All-Star Game despite hitting just .220/.290/.297 for the Padres that season. Ah, the life of an expansion team.
Tony Gwynn - 15 All-Star Games
Let's start with the most obvious example in Mr. Padre himself. Gwynn's 15 All-Star appearances tie him with Yogi Berra, Al Kaline, Brooks Robinson and Ozzie Smith for 10th all-time. He led off for the National League in his first ASG in 1984, going 1-for-3, but that only scratches the surface of the heights of his All-Star legacy.
In 1992, the Padres hosted the All-Star Game, and Gwynn came out to the kind of thunderous applause that you could likely hear from space:
Two years later, Gwynn stood on first base in the bottom of the tenth with Moises Alou at the plate. Alou smashed a line drive in to the gap, and Gwynn showed off his 50-steal wheels coming all the way around to score the game's winning run.
Thanks to his hitting prowess, and his ties to San Diego, Gwynn even became close with that other great hitter, Ted Williams. At the 1999 All-Star Game, Gwynn stood with the icon when he made his famous toss.
And in 2001, in his final season, he and fellow Hall of Famer Cal Ripken were both honored in the middle of the game.
Nate Colbert - Three ASGs
From 1969 until their first-ever World Series in 1984, the Padres never finished higher than fourth in the standings. San Diego didn't even reach 70 wins until 1975. Fortunately, there was Nate Colbert.
Drafted as the 18th pick in the expansion draft, Colbert quickly established himself as San Diego's star. Despite hitting 62 home runs his first two years with the Padres, he wouldn't make his All-Star debut until 1971.
While he never started in any of his three appearances, he did end one. After drawing a walk in the bottom of the tenth of the 1972 ASG in Atlanta, Colbert scored the winning run on Joe Morgan's single.
Colbert apparently enjoyed hitting in Atlanta: One week later, the first baseman tied a record with five home runs in a double-header.
Randy Jones - Two ASG
Long before he was a barbecue legend and staple at Petco Park, Randy Jones was the first bonafide Padres ace . After leading the league with 22 losses in 1974, Jones broke out with a league-best 2.24 ERA and his first All-Star appearance the following season. And in the Classic, he finished the game with a scoreless inning.
Jones started the next year, going up against the fellow curly-haired Mark Fidrych.
Jones pitched three innings, giving up two hits and striking out one to get the victory for the National League in the bicentennial game.
He was the first Padres pitcher to start the game, and since then, only two others have taken up the mantle: Lamarr Hoyt (1985) and Jake Peavy (2003).
Dave Winfield - Four ASG (with Padres)
Winfield first became a superstar with the Padres after turning down draft offers from the NBA, ABA and NFL, and he picked up the Friars' first-ever All-Star hit during his debut appearance in the 1977 Midsummer Classic.
With San Diego hosting in 1978, Winfield became the franchise's first hitter to be voted to start the game. That naturally received a rousing ovation and required two tips of the cap.
Between Winfield and Fingers, this might be the most facial hair fashionable duo in All-Star Game history.
Trevor Hoffman - Six ASG (with the Padres)
It only makes sense that the man with the second-most saves in Major League history is tied for the second-most All-Star appearances by a pitcher. Hoffman made it into all seven games that he appeared in, trailing only (who else?) Mariano Rivera's nine.
And while his final one came in a Brewers uniform, it was a fitting finish to his All-Star Game career. Like he had done so many times with the Padres, his outing was scoreless.