Top 5 unforgettable moments at Petco Park

December 1st, 2021

SAN DIEGO -- Since opening in 2004, Petco Park has played host to its share of historic and memorable moments. Here's a look at the top five:

1. Jones' WBC robbery
March 18, 2017

Petco Park's most memorable moment came while the Padres -- well, most of them anyway -- were away at Spring Training. In March 2017, the ballpark played host to a second-round matchup between two heavyweights in the World Baseball Classic. The United States and Dominican Republic, favorites entering the tournament, faced a winner-take-all game. Future Padre Manny Machado sent a deep drive toward the beach area beyond the right-center field fence. leapt at the wall, amid a mass of outstretched limbs. Somehow, it was Jones who came down with the baseball. The United States would win the game and, four days later, its first World Baseball Classic.

2. Hoffman's saves record
Sept. 24, 2006

This moment was absolute vintage . Petco Park stood in unison as AC/DC's "Hells Bells" blared through the stadium's sound system. An unassuming Hoffman put his head down as the bullpen door opened and the ballpark whipped into a frenzy around him. He trotted to the mound -- and made quick work of the Pirates, inducing a pair of strikeouts, first with his changeup then with his fastball. Then, Hoffman capped a 2-1 victory by getting a weak grounder to shortstop for save No. 479 -- passing Lee Smith for first place on the all-time list (a record now held by Mariano Rivera). Hoffman pumped his fist, as the Padres poured out of the dugout and 42,000 fans went berserk, with San Diego on its way to a second consecutive division title. A decade and a half later, Hoffman is a Hall of Famer with a bronze statue immortalizing him beyond Petco Park's left-center-field bullpens.

3. 2016 All-Star week
July 10-12, 2016

The lasting image from All-Star week 2016 is probably mashing taters to all depths of the left-field seats at Petco Park. Stanton's 61 homers – at the time – were the most by a batter at the Home Run Derby. The game itself was a mostly mundane affair, with the American League winning, 4-2, as future Padre Eric Hosmer took home MVP honors. But the pomp surrounding the event was special. From Sunday through Tuesday, downtown San Diego was a festival for baseball, and the week's most special moments came prior to the game. Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the renaming of the NL batting title after the late Tony Gwynn, prompting a packed Petco Park into a chorus of "To-ny, To-ny." Fellow Padres legends Trevor Hoffman and Randy Jones combined for the ceremonial first pitch, with Hoffman emerging from the bullpen to deliver the baseball to Jones.

4. 'Western Division Champs'
Sept. 28, 2005

Year 2 of Petco Park saw one of the strangest division races in history. For a chunk of the season, it seemed possible that a sub-.500 team might win the NL West. But the Padres caught fire in late September, clinching the division title with ease and sparking a party in the East Village. When Ben Johnson corralled Pedro Feliz's deep fly ball to clinch it, the "Western Metal Supply Co." script on the historic left-field building was covered in a canvas reading: "Western Division Champs." It's the only division title the Padres have clinched at Petco Park.

5. A comeback for the ages
Oct. 1, 2020

It was a moment that deserved a jam-packed Petco Park, filled with fans unleashing 14 years-worth of pent up emotions as their team stormed to its first postseason victory since 2006. Instead, the game was played amid the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic in an empty stadium. An absolute shame. Because this game was an instant classic. The Cardinals got out to an early 6-2 lead, and the Padres' season teetered on the brink, having already lost Game 1 of the best-of-three NL Wild Card Series. But Fernando Tatis Jr. -- announcing himself on the national stage -- launched a three-run homer in the sixth, and the comeback was on. Manny Machado then homered to tie it. An inning later Wil Myers homered to give the Padres a lead, and both Tatis and Myers would add a second. They became the first pair of teammates with a multi-homer postseason game (in the same game) since Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. With Petco Park empty, car horns blared on the streets and pots and pans rang from nearby balconies for more than an hour after the game -- joy and exultation in a year where those emotions were so hard to come by.