Here are the best days ever by SD batters
No, the five greatest single-game hitting performances in Padres history don't belong exclusively to Tony Gwynn (though you could certainly make a case to include about 15 different Gwynn games on this list).
Perhaps surprisingly, Gwynn appears only once -- sandwiched between one of the most impactful playoff performances of all-time and arguably the greatest single day at the plate in baseball history.
Without further ado, here are the top five single-game hitting performances in Padres franchise history:
5. Cycles for Kemp and Myers (tie)
Aug. 14, 2015 and April 10, 2017
For a franchise with dynamic offensive players like Gwynn and Dave Winfield, it's certainly strange that it took so long to record cycle No. 1. But perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the Padres' long wait to end their cycle drought is that when Matt Kemp finally broke through in 2015, Wil Myers followed with a near-identical performance in 2017. Both games took place at Coors Field. Both players completed the feat by chugging into third base with a triple. Both players mashed mammoth homers to center. The similarities make it nearly impossible to discern which performance was better, and both deserve a spot among the top Padres offensive showings of all-time.
4. Caminiti's three homers
July 12, 1998
No Padre had ever homered three times at Dodger Stadium. No Padre has done so since. On top of that, Ken Caminiti's three-homer barrage in 1998 was as much a personal accomplishment as it was a team-wide statement. The National League West was the Padres' division in ’98, and with an emphatic Sunday evening victory to move seven games up, they made that very clear. Facing Dodgers left-hander Brian Bohanon, Caminiti homered in the first and third innings from the right side. Then, in the eighth, he homered from the left side against righty Antonio Osuna. He became just the third player in franchise history to hit three homers in a game, and the first to do so with blasts from both sides of the plate.
3. Garvey walks it off
Oct. 6, 1984
Game 4 of the 1984 National League Championship Series is -- rightfully -- remembered for Steve Garvey's walk-off two-run home run against Lee Smith, ensuring a winner-take-all Game 5 and, eventually, the Padres' first NL pennant. But in reality, Garvey's contributions were much larger than one home run that night. Before his walk-off blast, Garvey hit an RBI double in the third, a game-tying single in the fifth and a go-ahead single in the seventh. It was one of the single most impactful offensive performances in postseason history. Garvey garnered .854 win probability added that night -- a metric that reflects how much each player's plate appearances contributed to his team's chances of winning. In playoff history, only two players have recorded higher numbers, and they come from two of the most legendary performances in World Series history -- David Freese for the Cardinals in 2011 and Kirk Gibson for the Dodgers in 1988.
2. Gwynn's six-hit masterpiece
Aug. 4, 1993
There's no debating the greatest Padre in history. But here's a fun argument: Which version of Tony Gwynn qualifies as peak Tony Gwynn? Was it the breakout star in 1984 who led the Padres to the pennant? Or maybe the ’87 edition, who did it all, leading the league in hits and average while swiping 56 bases and winning a Gold Glove? What about late-career Gwynn, who added power to his game in ’97 and ’98? For my money, it's hard to top the ’93-94 version -- the one who held a .400 batting average over an entire calendar year from July '93 through June '94. And perhaps no game better encapsulated Gwynn than this one. He went 6-for-7 in an 11-10 Padres victory over the Giants in 12 innings, with four singles and two doubles.
1. Colbert's doubleheader feat
Aug. 1, 1972
The Padres’ all-time home run leader, Nate Colbert was a power-hitting force during the early years of the team’s existence. He authored one of the best single-day performances in baseball history in 1972. Colbert started his day going 4-for-5 with a pair of homers and five RBIs in a day game against the Braves. Evidently, he was just getting warmed up. In Game 2 of the doubleheader, Colbert cranked three more homers and set a franchise record with eight RBIs. It was a performance for the ages, even without his Game 1 exploits. But add the two together, and it comes out to arguably the greatest day at the plate by any singular hitter in baseball history. Colbert finished 7-for-9 with seven runs, five homers, 13 RBIs and a walk. The Padres won both games, and Colbert joined Stan Musial as the only players in baseball history with five homers in a doubleheader.