Nate Colbert was recognized throughout baseball as the Padres' first marquis player and was one of the game's premier power hitters in the early 1970s. The ninth player selected by the Padres in the 1968 expansion draft, Colbert led the Padres in home runs in each of the organization's first five seasons and remains the Padres' all-time career home runs leader with 163. The three-time All-Star (1971-73) had one of the greatest performances in Major League history in a doubleheader. On August 1, 1972 in Atlanta, Colbert hit five home runs and drove in 13 runs, tying the Major League record for home runs in a doubleheader and setting the RBI mark, which has since been tied.
At the peak of Randy Jones' Padres career, attendance at San Diego Stadium would spike when the left-hander pitched. In 1976, Jones became the first Padre to win the National League Cy Young Award, going 22-14 with a 2.74 earned run average. He set a number of single-season Padres records that still stand, including 40 starts, 25 complete games and 315 1/3 innings pitched. Jones also started the 1976 All-Star Game and was the winning pitcher for the National League. Jones' trademark was his sinkerball that drew soft groundballs from even the greatest hitters. Jones had a career 3.30 earned run average with the Padres and owns two of the three, 20-win seasons in Padres history.
Ray Kroc saved the Padres for San Diego. It is that simple. Then, he went on to transform the Padres from a perennial loser into a franchise that won the 1984 National League pennant less than nine months after his death. The Padres appeared to be sold and headed out of San Diego when Kroc, purchased the franchise from founding owner C. Arnholt Smith on Jan. 25, 1974. Kroc, the founder of the McDonald's fast food empire, immediately became a hit with Padres fans as the club topped one million in attendance for the first time in his first year as owner. Kroc was the first Padres owner to sign front-line free agents. Following his death, his widow, Joan, remained Padres owner until 1990.
Dave Winfield spent the first eight of his 22 Major League seasons with the Padres and was the first to wear a Padres cap in the National Baseball Hall of Fame when he was inducted into Cooperstown in 2001.The fourth overall pick of the 1973 draft, Winfield went directly from the University of Minnesota to the Padres' Major League roster. He hit .284 as a Padre with 154 home runs and 626 RBIs in 1,117 games. He ranks second on the Padres' all-time RBIs and runs (599) lists, third in hits (1,134) and fourth in home runs. Winfield played in four All- Star Games as a Padre, the first position player voted a starter in 1979. He also won two Gold Gloves with the Padres.
Emil J. "Buzzie" Bavasi was the architect of the Major League Padres. After nearly three decades with the Dodgers, including 15 seasons as the President and General Manager, Bavasi was hired by C. Arnholt Smith in 1967 to help San Diego gain a National League expansion franchise. Bavasi's influence and trust with other owners played a major role in San Diego being granted a franchise on May 27, 1968. As the founding Padres President, Bavasi built the Padres organization from the ground up, overseeing everything from the creation of the front office and the construction of a baseball operations department, to the choosing of the uniform colors. Bavasi served the Padres as President until 1977. He passed away on May 1, 2008, at the age of 93.
Jerry Coleman was an All-Star and World Series MVP as a Yankee second baseman before serving as the "voice" and ambassador of the Padres for more than four decades. But Jerry Coleman was so much more; he was a true American hero. As a Marine pilot, Coleman was the only Major League player to see active combat in two wars (World War II and the Korean War). In 2005, Coleman was honored in the National Baseball Hall of Fame's broadcasting wing at Cooperstown as the winner of the prestigious Ford C. Frick Award. Coleman's iconic "Hang A Star …" and "Oh, Doctor!" calls are forever part of the Padres fabric. Coleman, who passed away in 2014 at the age of 89, was a vital link between Padres and the community.
Tony Gwynn is - and forever will be - "Mr. Padre." Among the greatest hitters in baseball history, Gwynn immediately entered the Padres Hall of Fame upon his retirement and was a first-ballot inductee into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. Gwynn was a basketball and baseball star at San Diego State University before spending his entire 20-season, Major League career as a Padre. He retired in 2001 with a .338 career batting average-the highest by any Major League hitter since Ted Williams and the 18th-highest in the history of the game. His resume features 3,141 hits, eight batting titles, and five Gold Gloves. He tops the Padres' career charts in nearly every offensive category. Gwynn coached baseball at his alma mater before passing away in 2014 at the age of 54.
The ninth manager in Padres history, the fiery and demanding Dick Williams led the Padres to the club's first National League title in 1984. Williams became the Padres manager in 1982 and had a 337-311 record in four seasons. His Padres teams finished above .500 every season and his .520 winning percentage is the highest in Padres history. Prior to Williams' arrival, the Padres had only one winning season in the organization's first 13 years. The 1984 Padres went 92-70 on the way to the National League West title. Over his 21-season managerial career, Williams won two World Series titles with Oakland and four pennants with San Diego, Boston and Oakland. Williams, who passed away in 2011, was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008.
Trevor Hoffman became baseball's all-time saves leader as a Padre, and was the first pitcher to reach the 600-save milestone. The sound of Hoffman's introductory Hell's Bells doubled as a victory song to Padres fans. Hoffman had 552 saves - at a 89.3 percent success rate - and a 2.76 earned run average in 902 appearances over 16 seasons in San Diego. Other Padres records held by Hoffman include his 9.72 strikeouts per nine innings average and .211 opponents' batting average. Hoffman was a six-time All-Star as a Padre and was twice the runner up in the voting for the National League Cy Young Award. Hoffman also won numerous awards for community service as a Padre.
His trademark was throwing out baserunners from his knees, but catcher Benito Santiago set two Major League records during his unanimous National League Rookie-of-the- Year season in 1987: his 34-game hitting streak remains the longest-ever both by a Major League rookie and by a Major League catcher. It is also the longest-ever by a Padre. Santiago was a four-time All-Star as a Padre, winning four Silver Slugger and three Gold Glove awards. He owns the highest caught-stealing percentage (31.2) in franchise history. Originally signed out of Puerto Rico, Santiago debuted with the Padres at the age of 21 and hit .264 with 85 homers and 375 RBIs in seven seasons with the club.
The smooth-fielding shortstop was instrumental in the Padres' run to the 1984 National League championship and later served as the team's captain. The switch-hitting Templeton spent 10 seasons with the Padres and ranks second to Tony Gwynn in four key offensive categories - games played (1,286), hits (1,135), doubles (195) and at-bats (4,512). Templeton's .965 fielding percentage is also the highest in franchise history by a shortstop. He was a National League All-Star in 1985, won a Silver Slugger Award 1984 and hit .324 during the post-season in 1984.
Ken Caminiti joined the Padres via trade in 1995, playing a total of four seasons in San Diego. He was unanimously selected the National League's MVP in 1996, after hitting .326 with 40 home runs and 130 RBIs. Known for his spectacular defensive plays at third base, Caminiti won three Gold Gloves while playing with the Padres. Twice selected as an All-Star as a Padre, Caminiti remains the Padres' all-time leader in slugging percentage (.540) and OPS (.924). A beloved fan favorite for his guts and guile, "Cammy" was an incredible competitor on the field. While his life ended far too early in 2004, Caminiti will forever be remembered as a loving and caring teammate.
Hometown sensation Ted Williams joined the Pacific Coast League Padres at the age of 17 after graduating from Herbert Hoover High School in June of 1936, hitting .271 in 42 games that season. In 1937, he hit .291 with 23 home runs in 138 games, helping the Padres to the club's first Pacific Coast League title. The "Splendid Splinter" broke into the Majors with Boston, and still holds the record for the highest career on-base percentage in Major League history at .482. Williams' Major League career was interrupted twice, when he served the military from 1943-1945, and again from 1952-1953. He went on to have one of the most successful careers in Major League history, playing 19 seasons, and was inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966.
Dubbed 'Trader Jack' for his renowned ability to instigate and mediate transactions, McKeon served as general manager of the Padres (1980-1990), including the parts of three seasons in the dual role of GM and Manager (1988-1990). The architect of the club's 1984 National League title, he was responsible for drafting Tony Gwynn, and acquiring top level talent like Garry Templeton, Goose Gossage and Steve Garvey. During the 1988 season, Jack assumed the managerial title, becoming the 12th manager in franchise history. For parts of three seasons, he led the Padres to a 193 victories, boasting a .541 winning percentage.
Kevin Towers served as general manager of the Padres for four of their first five National League West title seasons and one of the franchise's two National League championships (1998). Named the Padres general manager in 1995, Towers served the club in that capacity for a franchise-record 15 seasons. Known affectionately throughout baseball as "KT," Towers was respected for his eye for talent, particularly pitching. Towers spent 28 seasons with the Padres as a minor league pitcher and pitching coach, scout, scouting director and general manager. Beloved in San Diego, Towers passed away on Jan. 30, 2018, at the age of 56.