Top 10 Best San Diego Padres Players of All Time
The San Diego Padres were founded in 1969 and are one of five current baseball teams to play in California. Although the franchise has had a long history in the MLB, they have never won a World Series. Who are the best players to put on a Padres uniform? Keep reading to find out.
Who Are the Best San Diego Padres Baseball Players of All Time?
- Tony Gwynn
- Dave Winfield
- Trevor Hoffman
- Jake Peavy
- Andy Ashby
- Andy Benes
- Randy Jones
- Adrián Gonzalez
- Gene Tenace
- Gene Richards
1. Tony Gwynn
- 15-time All-Star
- Eight-time batting champion
- Most hits in Padres history
Tony Gwynn was drafted in the third round of the 1981 MLB draft by San Diego. The right fielder made his major league debut the following season for the Padres. Gwynn has the highest WAR in Padres history, totaling 69.2 Wins Above Replacement throughout his 20 years with the franchise. Gwynn made his first All-Star Game in 1984. The Hall of Famer appeared in the Summer Classic 15 times throughout his career. 1984 was also the first time Gwynn led the league in batting average, something he did eight different seasons.
The right fielder also led the league in hits seven times. In terms of franchise history, Gwynn holds many records in Padres history, including batting average, hits, games played, runs, doubles, triples, stolen bases, and walks. Gwynn’s 3,141 hits are the twenty-first in MLB history. The seven-time silver slugger and five-time gold glove winner spent all 20 seasons of his career in San Diego.
2. Dave Winfield
- Four-time All-Star
- Two-time Gold Glove winner
- 1979 National League RBI leader
Dave Winfield was the fourth overall pick of the 1973 MLB draft by the Padres. The right fielder made his debut for San Diego later that year. Winfield had a 32.0 WAR during his eight seasons with the Padres. The Padre made his first of four All-Star appearances with the franchise in 1977. Winfield hit 25 homers and had 97 runs batted in that season. The right fielder’s best season in San Diego came in 1979. Winfield finished third in the National League MVP race while slugging 34 home runs and a league-high 118 RBIs.
Winfield won two Gold Glove awards with the Padres as well. The Hall of Famer places in the top five of many offensive categories in franchise history. Winfield signed as a free agent with the Yankees after the 1980 season. The right fielder went on to play 22 seasons in the MLB for six different teams.
3. Trevor Hoffman
- Most saves in Padres history
- Best ERA in Padres history
- Six-time All-Star
Trevor Hoffman was originally drafted by the Reds in the 1989 MLB draft. After being selected by the Marlins in the 1992 expansion draft, the reliever was traded to San Diego during his rookie season in 1993. Hoffman went on to have the best pitching WAR in Padres history, totaling 25.9 Wins Above Replacement during his 16 seasons with the franchise. The righty became the main closer for San Diego during the 1994 season.
In 1998, Hoffman had a career-high 53 saves. The Hall of Famer made his first of six All-Star appearances with the franchise that season. The closer finished second in Cy Young voting as well that year. Hoffman finished his Padres career with a franchise-leading 552 saves. The closer’s 601 career saves are the second-most in MLB history. The righty’s 2.76 career ERA for San Diego is the best in Padres history as well. Hoffman signed as a free agent with Milwaukee after the 2008 season. The closer retired after the 2010 campaign.
4. Jake Peavy
- 2007 National League Cy Young winner
- Most strikeouts in Padres history
- Two-time National League ERA title winner
Jake Peavy was drafted in the 15th round of the 1999 MLB draft by San Diego. The starter made his debut for the franchise in 2001. In the eight seasons that Peavy pitched for the club, he had a 24.8 WAR. The righty broke out in the 2004 season, as he had 15 wins and a league-leading 2.27 ERA.
Peavy made his first of two All-Star appearances with San Diego in 2005, as he led the NL with 216 strikeouts that year. 2007 was the other season the Padre played in the All-Star game. The starter won the Triple Crown that season, as Peavy led the National League with 19 wins, a 2.57 ERA, and 240 strikeouts. His 1,348 strikeouts with San Diego are the most in franchise history. Peavy is also in the top ten of many pitching categories for the Padres. The starter was traded to the White Sox at the 2009 trade deadline. Peavy played 15 total seasons in his career for four teams.
5. Andy Ashby
- Two-time All-Star
- Top 10 strikeouts in the National League in 1995
- Fifth-most wins in Padres history
Andy Ashby signed as an undrafted free agent in 1986 with the Phillies. The starter made his MLB debut with Philadelphia in 1991 and was traded to the Padres by the 1993 trade deadline. Ashby had 22.8 Wins Above Replacement in his eight seasons in San Diego. The righty had quality seasons from 1994 to 1996. Ashby allowed less than 3.5 runs per nine innings in each of the three seasons. The starter was eighth in the National League with 150 strikeouts in 1995.
The Padre made his first All-Star game in 1998, as he had 17 wins and a 3.34 ERA in 226.2 innings pitched. Ashby made the All-Star game again in 1999. The starter finished his career in the top ten of many pitching categories in franchise history. San Diego traded Ashby after the 1999 season. The starter returned to the franchise for one final season in 2005 before retiring.
6. Andy Benes
- Second-most strikeouts in Padres history
- 1993 All-Star
- 1994 National League strikeouts leader
San Diego selected Andy Benes with the first overall pick in the 1988 MLB draft. The starter made his debut the following year and finished fifth in the rookie of the year race. In seven seasons with the Padres, Benes put up 20.8 Wins Above Replacement. Beginning in 1990, the righty was a consistent starter for San Diego. Benes finished sixth in the NL Cy Young race in 1991 and was named to the only All-Star game of his career in 1993.
The Padre led the National League with 189 strikeouts in 1994, despite only starting 25 games. Benes is in the top ten of many pitching categories in the history of the franchise. His 1,036 strikeouts with the Padres are the second-most for the ballclub ever. Benes was traded to Seattle at the 1995 trade deadline. The pitcher played in 14 MLB seasons.
7. Randy Jones
- 1976 National League Cy Young winner
- 1975 National League ERA Title
- Most games started by a pitcher in Padres history
Randy Jones was selected in the fifth round of the 1972 MLB draft by the Padres. The California native pitched in 20 games for San Diego as a rookie in 1973. Jones earned a 20.7 WAR in the eight seasons he played for the Padres. The southpaw broke out in 1975 as he finished second in the NL Cy Young race with 20 wins and led the National League with a 2.24 ERA over 285.0 innings pitched. Jones won the award the following season as he led the league in many pitching stats in 1976.
The pitcher started 40 games, 25 of which were complete games. Jones also accumulated a league-high 22 wins and a 2.74 ERA over an MLB-most 315.1 innings. The Padre made the All-Star game in both seasons as well. Jones leads the franchise in innings pitched, games started, complete games, and more. The lefty was traded to the Mets after the 1980 season, where he played for two seasons.
8. Adrián Gonzalez
- Three-time All-Star
- Two-time Gold Glove winner
- Second-most HRs in Padres history
Adrián Gonzalez was originally drafted by the Marlins as the first overall pick in the 2000 MLB draft. The first baseman was traded to the Rangers and then to the Padres before the 2006 season. Gonzalez accumulated 20.4 Wins Above Replacement in the five seasons he spent with San Diego. The slugger received MVP votes in just his second season with the Padres as he put up 30 home runs and 100 RBIs.
Gonzalez made his first All-Star appearance in 2008 and won his first of two gold gloves that season as well. The first baseman put up a career-high 40 homers in 2009, good enough for fifth in the majors. Gonzalez’s last season with San Diego was in 2010. The lefty finished fourth in the NL MVP race that year. The 161 HRs Gonzalez hit with the ballclub are the second-most in franchise history. He is also in the top ten of many offensive categories for the Padres. Gonzalez ended up playing 15 seasons in the MLB.
9. Gene Tenace
- Best OBP in Padres history
- 1977 National League leader in BB
- 1977 National League leader in HBP
Gene Tenace was originally drafted by the Athletics, and the catcher played eight seasons in Oakland before signing with the Padres as a free agent following the 1976 season. Tenace played four seasons with San Diego and had a 19.7 WAR during his tenure. The righty led the National League with 125 walks and 13 hit-by-pitches in 1977. Tenace hit consistently during his time with the Padres. He had between 15 and 20 home runs in all four seasons with the ball club.
The catcher also drove in between 50 and 67 runs in all four seasons. Tenace’s .403 on-base percentage with San Diego is the best in franchise history. He also is among the best for walks and HBP in the team’s history. Tenace was traded to St. Louis following the 1980 season. The catcher eventually retired after the 1983 campaign.
10. Gene Richards
- National League MVP votes in 1980
- 1981 National League triples leader
- Second-most stolen bases in Padres history
Gene Richards was drafted as the first overall pick of the 1975 MLB draft by San Diego. Richards accumulated a 19.0 WAR in his seven seasons with the franchise. The left fielder made his debut for the Padres in 1977 and finished third in the rookie of the year voting that year. Richards had 51 stolen bases and batted .290 during that season.
The Padre received MVP votes in 1980 as he put up career-highs with 193 hits and 61 stolen bases. Richards led the National League in triples the following year with 12. The left fielder's 63 triples and 243 stolen bases both rank second all-time in San Diego’s history. He is also in the top five of many other offensive categories for the ball club. Richards signed as a free agent with the Giants following the 1983 season. He played one more season before retiring.
- Nate Colbert
- Brian Giles
- Joey Hamilton
- Greg Harris
- Chase Headley
- Terry Kennedy
- Manny Machado
- Phil Nevin
- Eric Show
- Ed Whitson
Who is the best San Diego Padres player of all time?
Tony Gwynn is the best San Diego Padres player of all time as he totaled 69.2 Wins Above Replacement in his 20 seasons with the ballclub. The Hall of Famer leads the franchise in many offensive categories. Gwynn has the best batting average, most games played, runs, hits, doubles, triples, RBIs, walks, stolen bases, singles, extra-base hits, and more in the team’s history.
Which San Diego Padres player holds the record for most home runs?
Nate Colbert has the most home runs in San Diego Padres history with 163. The first baseman played in six seasons for the ballclub. Colbert twice hit 38 home runs with San Diego. Despite playing four more seasons, not in a Padres uniform, the first baseman only hit an additional ten home runs during his career. Adrián Gonzalez finished his career with the franchise just two homers shy of the record with 161.