As part of the 1969 MLB Expansion, the San Diego Padres joined the Montreal Expos, Kansas City Royals and the Seattle Pilots as the new blood of Major League Baseball. Team owner C. Arnholt Smith, who once owned the PCL Padres, did not have the early success of past or future expansion teams; his team finishing in last place in their first six seasons in the league. By the end of 1973, Smith was ready to sell the team and began pondering a move out of San Diego to Washington, D.C. He began negotiations with a group led by Joseph Danzansky but at the last minute sold the team to the co-founder of McDonald’s, Ray Kroc.
The team Kroc inherited had some soon to be notable players on its roster to include future Hall of Famer Dave Winfield and Cy Young winner Randy Jones. By 1977 the team acquired Rollie Fingers and the following season, acquired future Hall of Fame shortstop Ozzie Smith and Gaylord Perry. Even with these players, the team had only one winning season, 84-78 in 1978. By the end of 1980, Dave Winfield signed on with the New York Yankees.
The beginning of the 1984 season was a rough one for the franchise as Team Owner Ray Kroc passed away in mid-January and the team passed to his wife Joan B. Kroc. That season, the team finished with a 92-70 record, winning the NL West Championship. By this time the team featured Steve Garvey, Garry Templeton, Graig Nettles, Alan Wiggins and Tony Gwynn. Pitching for the team was the lineup of Eric Show, Ed Whitson, Mark Thurmon, Tim Lollar and “Goose” Gossage. The Padres beat out the Chicago Cubs in the NLCS. In the 1984 World Series, the Padres faced off against the Sparky Anderson led Detroit Tigers. The Padres would only win one game as the Tigers won the series and the Championship 4-games to 1.
The team was sold in 1994 to John Moores and the 1996 season would be the next time the Padres would post a 91-71 record and were led by Tony Gwynn, Ken Caminiti, Rickey Henderson, Fernando Valenzuela, Steve Finley and Wally Joyner. The Padres went into the NLDS against the Tony LaRussa led St. Louis Cardinals and were swept in 3 games. The following season the Padres were again in the thick of the pennant race and posted a 98-64 record en route to the NL West crown. In the NLDS, the Padres faced off against the Houston Astros and the ‘Stros were dominated by the pitching of Kevin Brown (in his only season with the team) and premier closer Trevor Hoffman and took out the Astros in four games, 3-1. The NLCS featured the Padres against the NL East Champion Atlanta Braves (who posted the 2nd best record in the league at 106-56) but it was the Padres who triumphed 4 -2. Things got tougher for the Padres as they next faced off against the 114-48 New York Yankees in the World Series. The Padres’ luck would run dry as the Yankees swept them in four games.
In 2004, the team moved from Qualcomm Stadium into the brand new PETCO Park and finished with an 87-75 record but failed to make the playoffs. In 2006, the team finished with an 88-74 record and captured their 2nd NL West crown. For the first time in team history, the team put together three consecutive winnings seasons. In the NLDS, the Padres were taken out by the eventual World Champion St. Louis Cardinals in four games.
Buy Padres Tickets and be a part of it all!