Mandatory Credit: houstonchronicle.com
#3 1996: Weekend At Chavez Ravine
Finishing in 1st place in the N.L. West at 91-71, it all came down to the final weekend of the season vs. the Los Angeles Dodgers for the division crown at Chavez Ravine. They needed three games to win the N.L. West and were behind L.A. by three games. The year before in 1995, the Dodgers clinched the N.L. West at then-Jack Murphy Stadium, so it was only appropriate that the Padres return the favor.
The first night the Padres won in 10 innings 5-2 thanks to a Ken Caminiti double in left that drove in Steve Finley, and two batters later Chris Gomez drove in Caminiti and Wally Joyner to make it 5-2. Then on Saturday night tied 2-2 in the eight inning, it was Tony Gwynn hitting through the 5.5 hole and bringing in Jody Reed and Greg Vaughn. The Padres won 4-2 and the N.L. West came down to one Sunday afternoon. There was no score until the 11th inning that Sunday, until Tony Gwynn’s brother, Chris Gwynn hit a double to deep center scoring Ken Caminiti and Steve Finley. That was all Trevor Hoffman needed as he got Dodgers’ hitter Chad Curtis on a called strike-three and the Padres had done the improbable, clinched the N.L. West on the final weekend.
Ultimately, you guessed it; the St. Louis Cardinals would set the tone for the Padres in the postseason, as it was the first of three series defeats in the postseason. Padres were swept but still had a miraculous season.