As you obviously know, Tony Gwynn, who accumulated 3,141 hits during his MLBaseball career passed away yesterday at the age of 54 due to oral cancer. Gwynn was “Mr. Padre”, as he spent his entire entire career there. Here are photos of the San Diego Padres community paying their respects yesterday. He’s the greatest of all San Diego Padres players, as he batted .300 in each of his last 19 seasons, an MLB streak second only to Ty Cobb’s.
Cobb is the only player in MLB history to have more batting titles. His No. 19 was retired by the Padres in 2004, and a statue was erected in his honor at Petco Park. The west side of which is bordered by Tony Gwynn Drive. Coincidentally, I’m vacationing today in San Diego, and I made my way down the ballpark when I heard the news.
I took the Petco Park tour, which gave me the opportunity to gather the knowledge required to compose an all-time San Diego Padres to ten list. Obviously Gwynn is #1.
#2 Ted Williams
What??? Yes, the Splendid Splinter cut his teeth in the 1930s, when the San Diego Padres were in the minors. Williams played there in the 1930s, long before the San Diego Padres became a major league ballclub in 1969. That’s the only reason he’s #2. Had he been a member of the team when they were MLB, I would have placed him #1. The Petco tour guide said something to the effect of:
“Ted Williams, didn’t really have friends, but Tony Gwynn, was as close as anyone came, the two would share hitting tips and such together.”
3. Dave Winfield
Yes, he made his name with the Yankees, but he’s one of the five San Diego Padres players to have his number retired, so that places him in a select group.
4. Steve Garvey
Ditto. Except Garvey probably got more of his damage done with the Padres than Winfield did. But you get the idea as a lot of people think of Garvey as a Dodger first.
5. Trevor Hoffman
Greatest closer ever. Greatest intro song ever. Too bad stodgy old baseball writers don’t value saves as much as they should.
6. Randy Jones
Won a Cy Young in the 1970s and the last guy on this list who is in the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame.
7. Benito Santiago
Decent offensively, but phenomenal defensively. Underrated all around.
8. Steve Finley
Talk about underrated.
9. Roberto Alomar
Umpire spitting incident drops him down. Plus he really made his name with the Blue Jays anyway.
10. (tie) Ricky Henderson, Kevin Brown, Gaylord Perry
Stay with the San Diego Padres was so brief I didn’t quite know what to do with them
San Diego Padres honorable mention: (or in some cases dishonorable mention like Ken Caminiti)
Tim Flannery, Alan Wiggins, Ray Kroc, Dick Williams, Willie McCovey, George Hendrick, Andrew Cashner, Jake Peavy, Rollie Fingers, Eric Show, Adrian Gonzalez, Glenn Beckert, Randy Hundler, Fred McGriff, Gary Sheffield, Tony Fernandez…I know I’ve left out of a lot of San Diego Padres…so have at it in the comments section. Let me know who’s missing San Diego Padres fans.
Paul M. Banks owns The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also a frequent guest on talk shows across the world. Banks has been featured in hundreds of media outlets including NFL.com, Forbes, Bleacher Report, Deadspin, ESPN, Washington Times, NBC and the History Channel. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)Follow paulmbanks