The Padres will finish up their series with the Giants this weekend and then, mercifully, head into the All-Star Break. With any luck they will enter that All-Star Break with a decent taste in their mouth assuming the series against the free-falling Giants goes well. But in either event the Padres could use a break after recently losing 10-games in a row.
However, I’m not here today to dwell on the recent struggles. Today we look back, with the All-Star Game as our guide, and attempt to assemble the Padres All-Time, All-Stars, All-Star Team. Wow, that was a mouthful.
The basic premise is this. Throughout the Padres history they have had at least one player from every position make the All-Star Game. Based on a variety of requirements, some of which are objective some subjective, I’ve assembled what I think is that team.
Ok, the requirements. On the objective side I’m looking at the players overall season that they made the All-Star team. I’m using the entire season though obviously half of those numbers happened after the All-Star Game. In the event of ties (or close calls) I’ll use how that player may have done in the All-Star Game that year. And in one case, I simply picked a player I like more than another, objectivity be damned. So, without further ado, let’s assemble an All-Star team!
C: Benito Santiago (1990)
With catcher you have three options. 1969’s Chris Cannizaro, Terry Kennedy, or Benito. Benito was a Padre during my formative fan years so he’s the obvious choice. We have four seasons to choose from, ’89, ’90, ’91, ’92 (he also made the team as a Giant in 2002). I’m going with 1990, despite the fact that Benito was injured and as such did not play in the game, due to a slightly better offensive season from him. 1990 he won the Silver Slugger Award as well as a Gold Glove. Plus he could throw out guys from his knees. I never played catcher. But you better believe I tried throwing from home to 2nd from my knees.
1B: Nate Colbert (1972)
There are 3 pretty important players in Padres history to choose from here. Colbert, Garvey, and Gonzalez. And a 4th, Klesko, who was less important but nice enough. And an argument could be made for any. I’m going with Nate Colbert. One, I felt compelled to provide some love to the teams that pre-date my birth. Two, Nate Colbert remains the Padres All-Time HR leader. Sure, that number isn’t particularly impressive (163) but he’s the guy nevertheless. And in 1972 he had one heck of a year. 38 HR, 111 RBI, WAR of 5.4. Not bad at all.
2B: Roberto Alomar (1990)
I was tempted to go Mark Loretta here. Love that guy. But there was no one I attempted to imitate more during my Little League career as a 2nd baseman than Robert Alomar (umpiring spitting excluded). I loved how this guy played, was mesmerized by his range and defensive ability. As a kid that could be described as “all-glove and go bunt because you can’t hit worth a lick” I loved a player getting so much attention for his glove. Who knows if the stats actually back up how good he was defensively? I’m not looking them up. I don’t want to know. I enjoy the memory too much.
SS: Ozzie Smith (1981)
And speaking of wizards with the glove. Yes, his time was short lived with San Diego. But he did this once. Which is amazing. So what if it wasn’t in his All-Star season.
3B: Ken Caminiti (1996)
Snickers Bar. 40 HRs. M.V.P. Caminiti’s 2nd season with the Padres was a monumental season, for both him and the Padres. He threw a guy out while sitting, SITTING, in foul territory. He was otherworldly that season and was rightly rewarded with an All-Star appearance. I loved Caminiti. Later controversy be damned.
LF: Greg Vaughn (1998)
When you hit 50 HRs you are going to show up on this list. 6.3 WAR helped lead the team to their first World Series since 1984. He had a key single in the 8th driving in 2 runs in that ASG, though despite that the National League lost. Greg Vaughn spent a limited amount of his time with the Padres, but boy were they some instrumental years.
CF: Steve Finley (1997)
The mid to late ’90s Padres are really my bread and butter as you can no doubt tell from this list. Now, remove Tony Gwynn from the OF and look at how many OFers are left to choose from. It’s a bit bleak I must say. That said, nothing is bleak about Steve Finley. On July 13, 1997 he came within a double at Colorado of a cycle. He hit 3 HRs in a game twice that season. And he provided Gold Glove caliber defense in CF.
RF: Tony Gwynn (1994)
The player was a no-brainer. The year? Tougher. I landed on 1994 for a variety of reasons. As everyone knows, 1994 was the strike shortened season. It was also the season that Tony Gwynn was threatening to hit .400. He ended the season (on August 11) hitting .394. He was over .400 as late as May 15th. He was as low as .385 on July 31st before raising, RAISING, that average to .394. The season was mind boggling and I will never get over the fact that he didn’t get a chance to hit .400. But, that aside, his All-Star appearance in 1994 also provided the greatest All-Star Game moment in Padres history. Down 7-5 in the 9th the National League tie it up on a Fred McGriff (former Padres alert!) 2-run HR. Then…in the 10th inning…
SP: Jake Peavy (2007)
I know, I know. I was torn myself. Randy Jones is an icon. And provides people with delicious BBQ sauce. So I hear you. I do. But I have a borderline irrational love of Jake Peavy. He will forever be one of my favorite Padres. And in 2007 there was no one better in the National League. I remember with vivid memory seeing his name as the probable starter and already mentally chalking that day’s game up as a win. I giggled (that’s right, giggled) every time a RH flailed helplessly at that biting slider. And less we forget, he was the National League starter in that All-Star Game.
RP: Trevor Hoffman (2002)
Again, I would assume this would be an obvious one. And it only seemed appropriate to include someone from the game that caused all subsequent All-Star Games to “count.” In 2002 the Padres were woefully bad. 96 losses bad. But that didn’t stop Trevor Hoffman from racking up 38 saves and striking out 69 in 59.1 IP. He was also the Padres lone All-Star representative that year, pitching 1 inning of scoreless baseball.
So there you have it. Assuming science and the time-space continuum could be altered and this team could actually play, I’ll be honest, I like their chances.
Who did I omit? Who would you put on this team? And how would it do agains this year’s lineups? Let me know in the comments. And as always, you can Tweet at me @LeftCoastBias where I’m currently replaying the new Pearl Jam song on an infinite loop.