5 Padres greats not in the Hall of Fame

December 2nd, 2021

SAN DIEGO -- There has been no shortage of Hall of Fame talent to pass through San Diego over the past five decades.

The Padres lay claim to a trio of Hall of Famers in , and , all of whom don an interlocking "SD" on their plaques in Cooperstown. Numerous other Hall of Famers have made stops in San Diego -- , , and among them.

After that group, however, there's a strong list of Padres who just missed the Cooperstown cut. (Note: This list doesn't include current players, nor does it include players who made a minimal impact on the franchise.)

Here are the Padres' five best players who aren't in the Hall of Fame (at least, not yet):

1. Gary Sheffield
spent only two seasons in San Diego, but they were two of the best seasons of his brilliant 22-year career. In 1992, Sheffield, then a third baseman, flirted with winning the Triple Crown in the National League. He settled for the batting title and a .330/.385/.580 slash line with 33 home runs. (Sheffield is still the only Padre not named Tony Gwynn to win a batting crown.) Sheffield was excellent again the following season before he was dealt to Florida as part of the team's so-called fire sale. He spent time with eight franchises, amassing 509 homers and a 60.5 career WAR. But perhaps because of concerns over performance-enhancing drugs, Sheffield received only 40.6% of the Hall of Fame vote in 2021, his seventh year on the ballot, and seems unlikely to reach the 75 percent threshold for enshrinement.

2. Fred McGriff
Like Sheffield, was an integral piece on the early 1990s Padres teams, only to be dealt during the team's fire sale. The sweet-swinging lefty is no longer eligible to be voted in by the Baseball Writers' Association of America. In 2019, his final season on the Hall of Fame ballot, McGriff received 39.8% of the vote. That said, McGriff is sure to become the topic of discussion on future Eras Committees. He batted .284/.377/.509 with 493 career home runs, while playing an excellent first base. Across three seasons in San Diego, McGriff batted .281 with a .906 OPS.

3. Kevin Brown
Perhaps it was somewhat detrimental to 's case that he never settled with any singular franchise, instead splitting 19 seasons among six teams. No question, the right-hander was likely also docked by voters for his inclusion in the Mitchell report. Still, it's hard to justify the lack of consideration for one of the best pitchers of his generation. Brown's numbers -- 67.8 career WAR, a 3.28 ERA, 2,397 strikeouts -- would seem to put him on the fringe of inclusion in the Hall of Fame. Instead, Brown was one-and-done, receiving just 2.1% of the vote on the 2011 ballot. On top of Brown's Hall-caliber exploits during the regular season, he was a certifiable October ace -- never more so than during his brilliant 1998 campaign with the Padres.

4. Graig Nettles
Perhaps one of the sport's more underrated players, might have garnered more serious Hall of Fame consideration had he played in a different era. Nettles never hit for average, but he amassed 68 WAR across his 22 seasons in the big leagues, played an excellent third base and reached base at a solid clip during his peak. Nettles was a key cog in the Padres’ run to the 1984 National League pennant, but his best season in San Diego came in ’85. In three seasons with the Padres, Nettles batted .237/.333/.405 and might have won a Gold Glove Award or two if Mike Schmidt hadn't spent two decades hogging them. Nettles spent four seasons on the Hall of Fame ballot and never received more than 10% of the vote.

5. Jake Peavy
, first eligible for the 2022 class, is unlikely to garner serious Hall consideration, though he could receive a few votes. Peavy had an outstanding 15-year career, racking up 152 victories, 37.2 WAR and a 3.63 ERA. He pitched for World Series winners in Boston and San Francisco, but his best seasons came in San Diego. From 2002-09, Peavy was an ace in the Padres’ rotation. He won a pair of ERA titles, a pair of strikeout titles and the '07 NL Cy Young Award. Ultimately, Peavy probably isn’t headed to Cooperstown. But judging solely from his Padres tenure, he’s arguably the best starting pitcher in franchise history.

Honorable mention
arrived in the trade that also netted McGriff. Fernandez was one of his generation's best defensive shortstops, with plenty of offensive value, as well.

is best known for his Dodgers tenure, but he slugged the biggest home run in Padres history in Game 4 of the 1984 NL Championship Series. Garvey once received 42.6% of the Hall of Fame vote from the BBWAA.

Randy Jones' comparatively brief career never warranted serious Cooperstown consideration, but it's worth remembering how dominant he was in winning an ERA title in 1975, then the NL Cy Young Award in '76.

pieced together an immensely valuable 19-year career but received only four Hall of Fame votes in 2013, his lone year on the ballot.

's Padres peak was as good as several Hall of Famers, but he wasn't able to sustain it.