The San Diego Padres Hall of Fame honors players, coaches and executives who have contributed to the organization's growth and success since San Diego broke into the major leagues in 1969. Voting among a 35-member committee is based on the rules necessary to be elected in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.
Eight men have been inducted into the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame since it was created to honor the club's 30th anniversary in 1999. The inaugural class of '99 included Randy Jones, Nate Colbert and Ray Kroc. In 2000, outfielder Dave Winfield was the lone inductee. Buzzie Bavasi and Jerry Coleman were inducted in 2001 and Tony Gwynn took his place in the Padres Hall of Fame in 2002. Dick Williams became the latest member of the Padres Hall of Fame in 2009.
Already a veteran of nearly 30 years in the game, Bavasi joined C. Arnholt Smith's effort to attract a National League franchise to San Diego in 1967 and, after securing a team, served as the Padres' first president from the birth of the franchise until 1977.
Bavasi was one of baseball's most-respected executives. He began his career in baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1939, serving the organization in a variety of roles. Following a stint in the military as an infantry machine gunner from 1943-46, Bavasi served as General Manager of the Dodgers' Triple-A club in Montreal. In 1951, he was appointed Vice President and General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, a post he maintained through the club's move to Los Angeles until he resigned to join the effort to bring the Major Leagues to San Diego. Bavasi passed away on May 1, 2008 in San Diego at the age of 93.
Nate Colbert emerged as the first bona-fide star to wear a Padres uniform, becoming one of the game's premier power hitters of the early 1970s. The first baseman made three All-Star appearances (1971-73) as a Padre and led the team in home runs the first five years of its existence. Colbert's greatest achievement stands as one of the all-time best days a player has had in the major leagues. On August 1, 1972, Colbert hit five home runs and drove in 13 runs in a doubleheader in Atlanta. The RBI total established a record that still stands, and the five home runs tied Stan Musial's 1954 major league mark. Colbert's 163 home runs stand to this day as the most in Padres history, while his .469 slugging percentage also tops the club's all-time list.
Entering his 30th season as the voice of the Padres, Coleman, 78, still stirs loyal fans across the region with his patented "Oh Doctor!" and "Hang a Star" calls, trademarks of Padres broadcasts since 1972. In 1999, celebrating 50 years in baseball, Coleman was honored by the Padres who retired a jersey in honor of his contributions not only to the club but also to the San Diego community.
Coleman's distinguished broadcasting career includes stops with the Yankees and Angels, as well as 22 seasons calling the CBS Radio Network's Game of the Week. Coleman, who left the broadcast booth in 1980 to become the Padres' field manager for one season, played on six World Series clubs in nine seasons (1949-57) with the New York Yankees, a key member of the greatest dynasty in baseball history. The second baseman made his big league debut in 1949, earning Associated Press Rookie of the Year honors. The following season, Coleman was an American League All-Star and the World Series Most Valuable Player, as the Yanks swept the Phillies in four straight games.
The greatest Padre of them all, and one of the greatest hitters in the history of Major League Baseball, Tony Gwynn was the first ever unanimous selection to the Padres Hall of Fame upon his retirement at the conclusion of the 2001 season.
In 20 seasons (1982-2001), the man who will forever be known as "Mr. Padre" won a National League-record tying eight batting championships and was selected to 15 All-Star teams.
He retired with a .338 career batting average and 3,141 hits in 2,440 games. Gwynn's hit count includes 543 doubles, 85 triples and 135 home runs. He finished with 1,138 RBI and 319 stolen bases.
The Padres career leader in virtually every offensive category, Gwynn retired 17th on the all-time major league hit list, 17th on the doubles list and eighth on the all-time singles list. His .338 career average, the highest by any major leaguer since Ted Williams, is 18th-best all-time.
Tony played on all three Padres division championship clubs (1984, 1996, 1998) and batted .371 in the club's two World Series appearances in 1984 against the Tigers and 1998 against the Yankees.
Only the 17th player in history to spend his entire career of 20 or more seasons with one club, Gwynn's unwavering loyalty to the Padres and his undying devotion to the San Diego community further cemented his standing as "Mr. Padre" and one of the great ambassadors the game of baseball has ever known.
Randy Jones was the first Padres player to win a coveted Cy Young award and earned tremendous popularity among Padres fans, a relationship that remains strong. Jones, a left-hander who won the Cy Young in 1976 after going 22-14 with a 2.74 ERA and 25 complete games, remains the club leader in innings pitched (1,765.0), starts (253), complete games (71) and shutouts (18). Jones was an All-Star in 1975 and '76, establishing a unique rapport with Padres fans, who gave him a standing ovation as he approached the mound for every start. Jones remains an active ambassador for Padres baseball in the community, making dozens of appearances annually and running his popular Randy Jones Ballpark Barbecue at PETCO Park.
Ray Kroc bought the Padres franchise on January 25, 1974, when the club literally had its boxes packed and was ready to move to Washington, D.C. An entrepreneur who created the McDonald's fast-food empire, Kroc established then and there that the Padres would remain in San Diego. He oversaw the club's rise from a perennial loser in the standings and at the gate to a viable franchise that eventually would win the National League pennant in 1984. After topping out at 644,272 before he purchased the club, the Padres drew more than 1 million fans every year except the strike-shortened 1981 season, and the team on the field grew to respectability, earning its first winning record in 1978. Kroc died in January 1984 and didn't get to see his team reach the World Series that year - though the club carried an "RAK" emblem its uniform that season. Kroc's wife, Joan, assumed the role of owner after his death until her sale of the club in 1990.
The Padres' manager from 1982-85, Williams led the Friars to a 337-311 record and .520 winning percentage over four years, finishing at .500 or better each season. Williams was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, in 2008 by the Veterans Committee and was inducted on July 27, 2008.
In the club's 13 seasons prior to his arrival, the team had posted just one winning season (1978). Under Williams' guidance, the Padres went 92-70 in 1984, reaching the playoffs for the first time in franchise history and advancing to the World Series.
Williams managed parts of 21 seasons in the Big Leagues, including stints with the Boston Red Sox (1967-69), Oakland Athletics (1971-73), California Angels (1974-76), Montreal Expos (1977-81), Padres (1982-85) and Seattle Mariners (1986-88). He posted a .520 career winning percentage (1,571-1,451), advancing to the postseason five times.
Dave Winfield jumped directly into the Padres lineup off the University of Minnesota campus in 1973. In eight Padres seasons, he was named to four N.L. All-Star teams (1977-80), led the club in home runs five times (1976-80) and paced the team in RBI six times (1974-75, 1977-80). The team MVP in 1978 and 1979, Winfield batted .284 with 154 homers, 626 RBI and 133 stolen bases for San Diego, the start of a 22-year major league career, which culminated in his election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in January. Winfield was inducted into the Hall of Fame August 5, 2001, the first player to ever enter the Cooperstown shrine as a Padre.