A Major League record-tying 56 players, including an NL record 29 pitchers, appear in at least one game for the 76-86 Padres. The club endures 23 disabled players missing 1,408 games, creating opportunities for numerous young players to make their mark. Seventeen rookies, eight of them pitchers, appear with 11 players making their Major League debuts. Team MVP Phil Nevin becomes the third Padre to lead the club in batting (.303), home runs (31) and RBIs (107) in a single season. He's the ninth San Diego player to top 30 homers and 100 RBIs in the same year. Despite being limited to 36 games due to left knee problems, Tony Gwynn bats .323, setting an NL record with his 18th straight .300 season. With 43 saves, Trevor Hoffman ties Major League marks with his third straight 40-save season and his sixth consecutive 30-save campaign.
The 79-83 Padres enjoy a milestone year. In Tony Gwynn's final season, Dave Winfield is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Rickey Henderson sets Major League career records for walks and runs and picks up his 3,000th hit, Trevor Hoffman collects his 300th save and Bruce Bochy earns managerial win No. 500.
The Padres wear a black patch with the No. 26 on their jerseys to honor the memory of teammate Mike Darr, who was killed in an auto accident on the first day of Spring Training. The Padres use a NL record 59 different players (matched by the Cleveland Indians), including a Major League-record 37 pitchers, in an injury-riddled season. Twenty-two different pitchers have at least one win, another Major League record. Ryan Klesko hits .300, with 29 home runs and 95 RBIs, and reaches base safely in 56 consecutive games, April 9-June 14. Trevor Hoffman has 38 saves, his Major League-record eighth straight year with 30-plus saves, and notches his 350th as a Padre, the most by a big league closer for one team.
The Padres embark on a six-month celebration of their 35th and final season at San Diego/Jack Murphy/Qualcomm Stadium. Though the club finishes 64-98 and 36 1/2 games out of first place, the season provides a number of highlights. Team MVP Mark Loretta enjoys the then-best season of his career, finishing second among all National League second basemen in batting average (.314), hits (185) and RBIs (71). Third baseman Sean Burroughs leads all NL third basemen with a .286 average while closer Rod Beck joins Los Angeles' Eric Gagne as the only relievers to post a perfect save percentage (min. 20 saves) after going 20-for-20 in chances.
The Padres enjoy a 23-game turnaround in 2004 to make a run at the playoffs in their inaugural season at PETCO Park. Despite an 87-65 mark, the Padres fall short in the division and the Wild Card race but remain competitive until the season's final weekend. Newcomer David Wells goes 12-8 with the Padres while young ace Jake Peavy matches Brian Lawrence to lead the staff with 15 wins. Mark Loretta raises his game another notch, hitting .335 with 16 homers and 78 RBIs. He also scores 108 runs and becomes the only Padre other than Tony Gwynn to have at least 200 hits in a season when he drilled 208 on the year.
Driven by a 22-6 May, the best month in franchise history, the San Diego Padres forged into the National League West lead and, despite a rash of injuries, won the division with an 82-80 record. Led by closer Trevor Hoffman, All-Star pitcher Jake Peavy and right fielder Brian Giles, the club reached the postseason for the first time since 1998 but was swept 3-0 by St. Louis in the NLDS.
The Padres closed fast in 2006, going 22-9 over their final 31 games to win the National League West Division title for the second time in as many years. Once there, they lost to the eventual World Champion St. Louis Cardinals in four games. After a slow start, the Padres took off after a May 1 deal landed them catcher Josh Bard and reliever Cla Meredith, who set a franchise record for consecutive scoreless innings (33 2/3). Adrian Gonzalez enjoyed a breakout season (.304-24-82) in his first season with the Padres while pitcher Chris Young (11-5, 3.46) had the best road ERA (2.41) in the NL.
The Padres, under first-year manager Bud Black, finished with an 88-74 record, good enough for a second-place tie in the National League West Division. The team lost a memorable one-game playoff to the Colorado Rockies for the Wild Card spot. Pitcher Jake Peavy ran away with the NL Cy Young Award, going 19-6 with a 2.54 ERA. Peavy and his teammates Trevor Hoffman and Chris Young made the NL All-Star team. Greg Maddux won a Gold Glove for his defensive work on the mound.
The Padres went 63-99 in 2008 as the team was decimated by injuries and underperformance. Adrian Gonzalez enjoyed a breakout season at first base. He had 36 home runs and drove in 119 runs and made his first All-Star team. He was awarded his first Gold Glove Award as well and played in all 162 games. Closer Trevor Hoffman, in his final season with the team, had 30 saves.
The Padres improved by 12 games in 2009, going 75-87. Adrian Gonzalez appeared in his second consecutive All-Star Game and also won his second Gold Glove Award in as many years. Gonzalez hit 40 home runs and drove in 99 runs. Heath Bell, replacing Trevor Hoffman as closer, also appeared in the All-Star Game and had 42 saves. Kevin Correia, a San Diego native, led the team with 12 victories and had a 3.91 ERA.