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Beautiful San Diego, California is the backdrop for this National League West team still searching for its first World Series victory. While nearly 50 years of professional baseball has resulted in exactly one World Series game win coming in 1984 against the Detroit Tigers (the Padres were swept by the New York Yankees in the 1998 World Series), the Padres have put together an endearing history rich with talent and die-hard fans.
Originally a Pacific Coast League minor league franchise (most notably known for winning the 1937 title with future Hall of Famer Ted Williams on the field), the Padres made the jump to the big leagues in 1969 as an expansion team.
Fans attend home games at Petco Park each season with passionate love for their franchise. They have seen many great players don the Padres uniform over the years including Randy Jones, a left starting pitcher that earned accolades including two All-Star appearances, two team MVPs, and a Cy Young Award in 1976. Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield was a member of the team over those same years, boasting four All-Star nods while with the club to go along with two Gold Glove Awards and two team MVPs.
Ken Caminiti is a name that garners warm feels for Padres fans. They remember him best for his tenacity on the diamond which earned him two All-Star appearances in addition to three Gold Glove Awards, a Silver Slugger Award, a team MVP and a league MVP.
Jake Peavy is another Padres alumni with a Cy Young Award to his credit. He earned it back in 2007. He also made two All-Star appearances and won the Pitching Triple Crown in 2008. Longtime Padre Trevor Hoffman was named to six All-Star teams, was in the running for MVP and Cy Young multiple times, and twice led the league in saves.
However, when baseball fans think of San Diego, one name stands out above all else. Tony Gwynn, the first ballot Hall of Famer who spent his entire 20 years career with the Padres, is remembered as the embodiment of the Padres. Among his many accomplishments are an incredible 15 All-Star appearances, five Gold Glove Awards, seven Silver Slugger Awards, and eight National League batting titles. His untimely death in 2014 was mourned throughout the league as he was a true ambassador to the game and is considered to be the best San Diego Padres player of all-time.
Following the 2015 season, the Padres began a major rebuild of their franchise. The familiar names and faces all headed for the exits, resulting in a dramatically reduced payroll, freeing up the team to make some moves. Dropping to a record in 2017 of 71-91, Manager Andy Green is intent on vastly improving this record in his this year as skipper and bringing the Padres back to winning baseball. Austin Hedges became the starting catcher last year and has retained this spot for 2018. Other young players include Carlos Asuaje, Christian Villanueva, Jose Pirela, and Manuel Margot. Mill Myers has moved to the outfield this year but continues to play well.
The Padres went all in on free agent Manny Machado this offseason, offering the infielder a contract for 10 years and $300 million. The largest free agent contract in American sports history, it is clear that San Diego has chosen the player they intend to build their team around for the next decade.
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