The San Diego Padres came to be starting in the 1969 season. Padres baseball is perhaps best known for Tony Gwynn and having arguably the worst uniforms in the history of the major leagues. One thing that is often overlooked is that when they were at their best, they came up against some of the best teams in the history of the game in the post season. Their best season as a franchise came in 1998 when they won 98 games in the regular season and made it to the World Series. Unfortunately, they came up against the best team of the 1990s record wise, the 1998 New York Yankees, winners of a then AL record 114 games, and got swept in the World Series.
1984 was their second best season, having won 92 games and made it to their first World Series as a franchise. It was just the second above .500 team in their history. They would, of course, lose to the team tied with the second best record of the 1980s, 4 games to 1 in the World Series. This was a solid young team that with some veteran leadership sprinkled in, that did little else in the 1980s.
This was Tony Gwynn's third season in the big leagues. He is the most well known Padre and the 2nd to go into the hall-of-fame with a Padres logo on his hat. (Can you name the other?) He was the only player to play on both Padres teams that went to the World Series.
1984 was his breakout year. He was easily the best player on this team, leading the team in batting average and hits. He was also 2nd on the team in stolen bases and 3rd in RBIs. What put him on the national radar in 1984, was that he won the first of his eight batting titles and also led the league in hits. He ended up 3rd in the MVP voting.
In 1982 and 1983, the Padres completed back to back .500 seasons. They were both very youthful teams and they came together in 1984. What may have helped was some of the veteran leadership brought in that had connections to the 1977-1978 World Series, both won by the Yankees over the Dodgers. Steve Garvey, formerly of the '77/'78 Dodgers, was brought in prior to the 1983 season. Garvey would lead the 1984 team in RBIs to go with a good .284 batting average. Prior to the 1984 season, a couple of former Yankees from those late '70s teams were brought in, Graig Nettles and Rich Gossage. They all had plenty of gas left in the tank. Gossage was probably the best pitcher on this team and solidified the bullpen. Nettles took over at third base from Luis Salazar who manned the position the previous season. This allowed Salazar to do what he did best throughout his career, be what I call a supersub, play many positions and be a 9th regular.
We are only 4 players short of being able to complete this roster's checklist. 21 Players on this roster could be found in the regular Topps set in a Padres uniform. Ron Roenicke is listed here as he only played for the Padres in 1984, but his Topps card shows him as a Mariner. He did not have a card in the traded set. The Topps Traded set gives us 5 more players, including cards of Nettles and Gossage and two players in their rookie card year picked up from the Cubs, Carmelo Martinez and Craig Lefferts. Finally we get 1 more player from the Donruss (or Fleer set), the rookie card of outfielder Kevin McReynolds. McReynolds was also one of the key players to this Padres team, as he was 2nd on the team in RBI. He never gets a card in a Topps set until he shows up in the 1987 Traded set after he was traded to the Mets.
|__||DO||34||CF||Kevin McReynolds (or FL 307) ||SDP|