Continuing our countdown of the top ten position players in San Diego Padres history, we discuss players seven and eight.
Last week, we looked at Steve Finley and Nate Colbert, two players who were intricate pieces to San Diego Padres’ history in their ways. Finley ended up with the Friars are a couple of stops in Baltimore and Houston, and Colbert was the team’s first selection as an expansion team.
8. Brian Giles
Born 16 miles from San Diego, Giles was drafted in the 17th round of the 1989 MLB Draft by the Cleveland Indians. He played four major league seasons there before being traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates after the 1998 season. He batted .308 in five years there and earned two All-Star selections.
He returned home in August 2003 and posted a .904 OPS in 29 games. In 2005, Giles took an NL-leading 119 walks and posted a .301/.423/.483. His best year in San Diego came in 2004 when he smacked 23 bombs and drove in 94 runs. His .815 OPS remains third-best in franchise history.
7. Mark Kotsay
Kotsay was the definition of a journeyman, originally drafted by the Florida Marlins with the ninth overall pick in the 1996 MLB Draft. He played four big-league seasons in Florida before the Padres acquired him in 2001. Kotsay had two stints with the Padres, and the best season in his first stint came in 2002. That year, he slashed .292/.359/.452 with 17 home runs and 61 RBI.
He bounced around in Oakland, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago White Sox, and Milwaukee before returning to San Diego for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He was in the twilight of his career and never matched the production of his first stint. After he retired, Kotsay joined the Padres’ front office as an assistant and eventually the hitting coach in December 2014.
He was terrific in the outfield, logging a career .989 fielding percentage in center field. His 183 RBI remains second-best for centerfielders in franchise history.