The San Diego Padres have had a rich history of position players over time, and we will rank the top ten. Let’s start with numbers ten and nine.
10. Steve Finley
Drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 13th round of the 1987 MLB Draft, Steve Finley batted .309 in 909 minor league at-bats. After just two years playing for the Orioles big league roster, he was traded to the Astros, where he led the National League in games played (162) and triples (13) during the 1992 season. After the 1994 season, Finley was part of an eleven player trade with the San Diego Padres, and he won his first Gold Glove Award in 1995.
Finley only spent four years of his 19-year career with the Padres, but he posted some remarkable numbers. In 1996, he finished tenth in NL MVP voting, posting a .298/.354/.531 line with 45 doubles, nine triples, 30 home runs and 95 RBI in 161 games.
It was the most home runs that Finley would hit until the 2004 season when he smacked 36 bombs split between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Primarily as a centerfielder, he logged over 19,000 innings at the position to go along with a career .989 fielding percentage. As alluded to, Finley won two Gold Glove Awards with the Padres and would go onto win three more in his career. His career .792 OPS remains tenth-best in franchise history.
9. Nate Colbert
Colbert was originally signed by his hometown St. Louis Cardinals in 1964 but was the Padres’ selection as part of the 1968 expansion draft. He played in San Diego between 1969 and 1974, earning three All-Star nods and was inducted into the Padres Hall of Fame in 1999.
1972 was arguably Colbert’s best season, as he finished eighth in NL MVP voting while posting a .250/.333/.508 line with 27 doubles, two triples, 38 home runs, and 111 RBI in 151 games.
In a sense, Colbert was the Wil Myers of the 1970s. He primarily played first base, but also moved around to third base and left field as well. As a first baseman, he recorded a career-best fielding percentage (.996) during the 1972 season.
The Padres were lousy during Colbert’s tenure, finishing in last place in all six of his seasons. However, his .800 OPS still ranks third among Padres’ first baseman, and his 163 home runs are still tops in franchise history.