SAN DIEGO PADRES INFORMATION:
Location: San Diego, California
Stadium: PETCO Park
Conference: National League
Division: West Division
Rivals: Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies
Notable Players: Tony Gwynn, Steve Garvey, Dave Winfield, Randy Jones
San Diego Padres NL Championships: 2 - 1998, 1984
The San Diego Padres take their name from the extremely successful minor league franchise in the Pacific Coast League that carried the same moniker. That version of the Padres won a bevy of league titles and was the original team of future Hall of Famer Ted Williams. When San Diego received a Major League franchise in 1969, the obvious choice was to pick the Padres as the name of the new team. The Padres began their tenure in the city in San Diego Stadium against the Houston Astros with a 2-1 victory in front of 23,370 fans. Although the team finished 41 games out of first place, they would gradually grow to become a contending team in the National League.
The 1970s saw the Padres gradually improving their farm system, and as the decade wore on, they began to assemble a formidable pitching staff. Randy Jones won the team's first Cy Young Award in 1976, and fellow pitcher Butch Metzger won the NL Rookie Pitcher of the Year. In 1980, the Padres became the first National League club in history to have three players with 50 or more stolen bases (Gene Richards, Ozzie Smith and Jerry Mumphrey).
In 1984, the Padres won their first division NL West title with a mixture of young stars like Tony Gwynn and Kevin McReynolds, as well as the shutdown closer Goose Gossage. The Padres were huge underdogs against the Chicago Cubs in the NL Championship Series, and after losing the first two games, they captured the next three to net their first World Series berth. Unfortunately, the Padres were overmatched against the Detroit Tigers and fell in five games.
Padres fans would have to wait until 1996 for the team's next playoff appearance, and while they were knocked out quickly that year, they found themselves in the World Series two years later against the New York Yankees. This Padres squad featured the strong arms of Kevin Brown and Sterling Hitchcock, as well as closer Trevor Hoffman, who tied a National League record for saves with 53 in 54 chances. Despite a heroic performance from Tony Gwynn, the Yankees dynasty wouldn't be denied and the Padres were swept in four games.
The Padres have come tantalizingly close to the first World Series title, and hopeful fans still come out in droves to beautiful Petco Park each year to see what the team has in store for another exciting year in the National League West.
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