A group of 15 southern California businessmen, headed by Tom Werner, signs a letter of intent to purchase the club from Joan Kroc. Greg Riddoch is named manager, replacing Jack McKeon, who remains general manager. McKeon is fired as general manager on Sept 21. Joe McIlvaine is named Padres general manager on Oct 2.
Fred McGriff becomes the fourth player in NL history to blast grand slams in consecutive games. The Braves' Kent Mercker, Mark Wohlers and Alejandro Pena combine on a 1-0 no-hit victory in Atlanta on Sept. 11.
The Padres host the 63rd All-Star Game, a 13-6 AL win. Tony Gwynn ties an All-Star Game record with two outfield assists. Jim Riggleman is named manager on Sept. 23 replacing Greg Riddoch. Gary Sheffield leads the NL with a .330 batting average, and Fred McGriff wins the home run crown with 35 roundtrippers.
Randy Smith is named Vice President/Baseball Operations & General Manager (at 29, Smith becomes the youngest GM in Major League history). Tony Gwynn records a career-high six hits vs. San Francisco. It is his fourth game of the season with five or more hits, tying a Major League record held by Willie Keeler (1897), Ty Cobb (1922) and Stan Musial (1948).
Tony Gwynn wins his fifth batting title with a club record .394 average, the highest in the Majors since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941. Bruce Bochy is named manager, replacing Jim Riggleman. The sale of the team to John Moores and Larry Lucchino is finalized on Dec. 21. The Padres acquire infielders Ken Caminiti, Andujar Cedeno and Roberto Petagine, outfielder Steve Finley, pitcher Brian Williams and a player to be named (Sean Fesh) from the Houston Astros in exchange for outfielders Derek Bell and Phil Plantier, infielders Ricky Gutierrez and Craig Shipley and pitchers Doug Brocail and Pedro Martinez. It is the biggest trade in team history and the largest in Major League Baseball since 1957.
The Padres tie a 20th century NL record with nine runs in the 10th inning of a 13-5 victory at Philadelphia on May 28. Ken Caminiti becomes the first player in Major League history to homer from both sides of the plate in the same game three times in a season, the first two on consecutive nights. On Nov. 17, scouting director Kevin Towers is named general manager, replacing Randy Smith. The club's nine grand slams tie the NL mark set in 1929 by Chicago. Tony Gwynn wins his sixth batting title with a .368 average. The Padres are the most improved team in the NL (5th in the Majors), finishing with a .486 winning percentage (70-74), an increase of .084 from their .402 percentage (47-70) in 1994.
Newly acquired John Flaherty hits in 27 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in Padres history and -- at the time -- the second-longest ever by a catcher. Ken Caminiti becomes the first Padre to hit a home run in the All-Star Game. The visiting Padres score a club-record 20 runs to defeat Florida 20-12 in a 4-hour, 10-minute marathon on July 27, the longest nine-inning night game in NL history. A then-club record and 1996 NL-high 55,412 fans attend the Padres-Marlins game at Jack Murphy Stadium on August 3. The Padres make baseball history in Monterrey, Mexico by hosting the New York Mets in La Primera Serie, the first Major League regular season games played outside the United States or Canada. A four-game series with Los Angeles at the Murph in late September draws a club-record 197,225 fans, including three advance sellouts (the first non-Opening Day sellouts in club history). Down two games with three to play, the Padres sweep the Dodgers in Los Angeles to win the second division title in club history. The Cardinals sweep three games from the Padres in the NL Division Series. Ken Caminiti sets club records with 40 home runs and 130 RBIs and becomes the fourth player to win the NL Most Valuable Player Award in a unanimous vote. Bruce Bochy becomes the first Padre to win the NL Manager of the Year Award. Tony Gwynn hits .353 to win his seventh batting title. The Padres' 91-71 record is -- at the time -- second-best in team history. Their 46-35 mark on the road is the best in franchise history.
In front of the earliest Opening Day sellout crowd since 1985, the Padres explode for an 11-run sixth inning en route to a 12-5 win over the Mets. The inning established a 20th Century NL record for runs scored in an inning on Opening Day. Chris Gomez, Rickey Henderson and Quilvio Veras slug consecutive home runs to highlight the inning. The Padres host the St. Louis Cardinals in the Padres Paradise Series at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, HI, dropping two of three games. Trevor Hoffman slams the door on the Giants on June 23 to pass Rollie Fingers and become the Padres all-time save leader with 109. A crowd of 60,230, largest in the Majors in 1997, watches a 3-1 loss to the Angels on Aug. 29. Andy Ashby's bid for the first no-hitter in Padres history ends when Atlanta's Kenny Lofton leads off the ninth with a fly ball single to right on Sept. 9. Padres acquire All-Star right-hander Kevin Brown from the Marlins in a 4-player trade. Tony Gwynn bats .372 to win his eighth batting title, tying Honus Wagner's NL record. Gwynn's 220 hits and 49 doubles establish Padres records. The Friars set club records with 795 runs scored, 1,519 hits, 761 RBIs, 2,282 total bases and 604 bases on balls.
The Padres win a club record 98 regular season games en route to their second National League championship. San Diego beats the Astros and Braves in a pair of thrilling NL playoff series before falling to the Yankees in the World Series. On the season's final day, Greg Vaughn becomes the 28th player in history to hit 50 home runs in a season when he goes deep in his final regular season at-bat at Arizona. Kevin Brown fans a Division Series-record 16 to outduel Randy Johnson for a 2-1 series-opening win against the Astros. Sterling Hitchcock fans 11 in six innings, leading the Padres to a 6-1 win over Johnson and the Astros, wrapping up the best-of-five Division Series, three games to one. The Padres race out to a three games to none lead en route to beating the Braves in six games in the NLCS. Hitchcock wins Games 3 and 6, allowing one run on five hits in the two starts to earn series MVP honors. Playing in their second World Series, the Padres drop four straight to the Yankees, winners of a record 125 regular and post-season games. Tony Gwynn bats .500 (8-for-16) with a homer and three RBIs in the series. Greg Vaughn homers twice and drives in four runs. Trevor Hoffman ties an NL record with 53 saves in 54 chances, second most in Major League history. Greg Vaughn slugs a club-record 50 home runs and drives in 119.
En route to a 74-88 finish, the Padres topped 2.5 million in home attendance for the second consecutive season and celebrated the greatest individual career milestone in franchise history, when Tony Gwynn collected his 3,000th career hit Aug. 6 in Montreal. With 18 players making their Padres debut and 13 rookies wearing a Padres uniform at one time or another, fans previewed the club's future with their first extended looks at Matt Clement, Ben Davis and others. Only days before breaking spring camp, General Manager Kevin Towers acquires third baseman Phil Nevin from Anaheim. Nevin will take over at third base at midseason en route to slamming 24 homers and leading the club with 85 RBIs. Trevor Hoffman strikes out all three men he faces to preserve a 2-1 win over Oakland at The Q on June 10, the 200th save of his Major League career. Hoffman, who led the majors by converting 40 of 43 save chances, became the franchise's all-time appearance leader 12 days later. The Padres establish a club record by winning 14 consecutive games, climbing from 25-38 to 39-38 in the process. In an 8-7 win over the Rockies at The Q on June 28, San Diego steals a club-record nine bases, five by Damian Jackson to equal the franchise best. Tony Gwynn becomes the 2second player in history to reach 3,000 career hits with a first-inning single off Montreal's Dan Smith at Olympic Stadium. He finishes the milestone night 4-for-5, igniting a 12-10 win. Led by Reggie Sanders (36), Damian Jackson (34), Eric Owens (32) and Quilvio Veras (30) -- the first quartet of 30-stolen base players in club history -- the Padres lead the majors with 174 steals.