The San Diego Padres have had a prolific list of first basemen in the history of their franchise. Here are my picks for the top-five best first-baggers to ever put on a Padres uniform.
Since the birth of their franchise in 1969, the San Diego Padres have had several different types of first baseman, both good and bad. Unfortunately for Padres fans, first base has been one of the most inconsistent positions over the years. If the Padres can lock down a consistently productive first baseman for several seasons, success will follow.
To make the list, players were required to play for the Padres in at least three consecutive seasons. I also took into account the team’s record during each player’s time with the Padres. The main qualification to make the list was the player’s individual contribution to the overall success of the Padres franchise.
San Diego Padres Top Five 1B – 1. Adrian Gonzalez
Contrary to popular belief, Adrian Gonzalez was the most productive first baseman in San Diego Padres history. In five major league seasons with the Padres, he hit .288 with 161 home runs. Gonzalez averaged 32.2 home runs/season during this stretch.
This includes his historic 2009 season in which Gonzalez hit 40 home runs (the most by any player in Petco Park history). A-Gon also had three All-Star appearances and won two Gold Gloves with the Padres while leading San Diego to a winning record in 3 of his 5 seasons with the team (baseball reference).
Gonzalez tops the list due to his overall consistency with the Padres, both offensively and defensively. Unfortunately, Gonzalez was traded to Boston in 2011 before entering the final year of his contract. Padres fans can only dream of the possibilities if he was able to stay in San Diego.
San Diego Padres Top Five 1B – 2. Steve Garvey
Mr. Clean, Steve Garvey, was incredibly efficient during his five year stretch with the San Diego Padres. He hit .275 during his time with the Friars. Steve Garvey’s biggest accomplishment was leading the Padres to their first-ever playoff berth and World Series appearance in 1984.
During the 1984 NLCS versus the Chicago Cubs, Garvey hit .400 with 7 RBI and slugged .600. Garvey is particularly famous for his walk-off home run in Game 4 of the 1984 NLCS, giving the Padres the opportunity to win the NL pennant in Game 5.
Garvey brought hope to a city that had never before seen a playoff baseball team. He gave Padres fans a boost of confidence due to his cool, calm, and collected personality. Garvey’s ability to come through in the clutch will forever be cemented in San Diego sports history.
San Diego Padres Top Five 1B – 3. Nate Colbert
Nate Colbert was one of the few shining stars of the early 1970’s San Diego Padres teams. In 6 seasons with the Friars, he hit .253 and averaged 27.2 homers per year.
This includes Colbert’s legendary 1972 season, where he smacked 38 homers, drove in 111 runs, and had an OPS of .841. Unfortunately, the Padres were a young and unsuccessful franchise during these years and never made the playoffs during Colbert’s tenure.
Colbert is most famous for his historic day on August 1st, 1972. During a doubleheader, Colbert hit 5 home runs, drove in 13 runs, and racked up 22 total bases. The last player to hit five home runs in one day before Colbert was Stan Musial in 1954.
San Diego Padres Top Five 1B – 4. Wally Joyner
Wally Joyner was quite successful during his San Diego Padres career. In four seasons with San Diego, he hit .291 and averaged 68 RBI per year. Even more impressive, the Padres made the postseason two of the four years that Joyner was in San Diego.
More from Friars on Base
- Padres barely missed out on high-end veteran starting pitcher
- This veteran DH target seems ideal for contending Padres roster
- Padres got steal with Xander Bogaerts after Carlos Correa’s mega-deal
- Failed Padres top prospect makes stunning return with minor league deal
- Padres fail to land ideal Xander Bogaerts teammate at catcher
Joyner played first base on the1998 San Diego Padres team that made it to the World Series, losing to the New York Yankees in four games.
His most impressive postseason series was the 1998 NLCS, where he hit .313 with 2 RBI while drawing 4 walks.
Padres fans sadly caught Joyner towards the end of his career, after he had already played several seasons with both the Angels and Royals.
Joyner served as the Padres special assistant to the GM from 2003 to 2007. He also was the Padres hitting coach from 2007 to 2008.
San Diego Padres Top Five 1B – 5. Wil Myers
The San Diego Padres have a potential star in their current first baseman, Wil Myers. In his first two (full and healthy) seasons, Myers hit a combined 58 home runs and displayed his ability to drive the ball to all fields.
At age 27, he has a career 7.4 WAR and one All-Star appearance. Thankfully, the Padres have Myers locked up until 2022 with a 2023 team option. Myers is a valuable player due to both his athletic ability and clubhouse presence.
The transition to first base has not been easy, but Myers’ defense has improved since coming up to San Diego. Myers most impressive feature is his speed, stealing 28 bases in 2016, and 20 in 2017. Hopefully, the Padres can provide more RBI opportunities for Myers in 2018.