Creating San Diego Padres’ Mount Rushmore
San Diego Padres' Mount Rushmore
There has been a lot of talk going around the world of sports about who belongs on the NBA version of Mount Rushmore of late. Players like LeBron James and Kobe Bryant have had their opinions on the matter made public for fans to dissect and debate, and many fans, including myself, got caught up in weighing in on the subject. Being the San Diego Padres guy that I am, my thoughts quickly shifted towards the Padres franchise and the question of who belongs on the Padres' Mount Rushmore?
Very similar to the NBA version of the same question, I'm sure opinions will vary from fan to fan. I'm also sure that outside of one obvious lock for a spot on the mountain, there will be someone somewhere who will see things differently. The Padres as a franchise might not have any World Series titles or many winning seasons during their 44 years of service in MLB, but in the midst of those years there have been some players who have become very special to the organization and city of San Diego.
After looking at the situation in depth, I've been reminded that there have been quite a few players who have made quick stops in San Diego only to go on to find themselves candidates for another franchise's Mount Rushmore. Players like Mike Piazza and Greg Maddux were both Padres at one point and both had Hall of Fame caliber careers while playing for numerous teams, but their time in San Diego was very short, so in my opinion they don't belong on the Padres' Mount Rushmore.
In order to earn a spot on the Padres' Mount Rushmore, a player must have had multiple productive and impactful seasons as a member of the Padres organization. And with that being said, let's take a look at the four members of the Padres Mount Rushmore, along with a person listed as next in line for a spot -- just in case the rumors of adding to the Presidential Mount Rushmore ever come to fruition.
5. Randy Jones
(1972-1980) Starting pitcher Randy Jones is a beloved figure within the Padres community. A Cy Young award winner in 1976, Jones became one of the first symbolic players of a franchise that was less than 10 years old at the time. In that historic season Jones won 22 games with an ERA of 2.74 in a ridiculous 315.1 innings pitched. His No. 35 was retired by the Padres. Jones is also a member of the San Diego Hall of Champions.
4. Dave Winfield
(1973-80) One of only two players representing the Padres in the baseball Hall of Fame, outfielder Dave Winfield was basically Tony Gwynn in San Diego before there was Tony Gwynn in San Diego -- not in statistical sense, but in an impact on the team and city of San Diego sense.
Making the All-Star team in four out of his seven seasons in a Padre uniform, Winfield became and still is one of the most identifiable Padres in the history of the franchise. His number No. 31 has also been retired by the franchise.
3. Tony Gwynn
(1982-2001) Tony Gwynn, aka Mr. Padre, not only has his No. 19 been retired by the franchise, but he has his own statue in front of the Stadium as well. A true Padre in the every sense of the word, Gwynn spent his entire career in a Padres uniform.
With eight batting titles, 15 All-Star appearances, five Gold Glove awards, seven silver slugger awards, a career .338 batting average and a membership in the 3,000 hit club to his credit, Gwynn was not only one of the best Padres ever, but one of the best players ever -- period.
2. Trevor Hoffman
Acquired in a trade that sent ultra-productive and fan favorite Gary Sheffield to the then Florida Marlins, relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman arrived in San Diego to unopened arms in 1993. 21 years later hardly anyone in San Diego remembers that Sheffield guy. That's how good Hoffman's 16 seasons with the Padres were.
Hoffman's 552 saves and 2.74 ERA in a Padre uniform were the building blocks that have him sitting number two on the all-time saves list in MLB. Who can forget Hoffman heading to the mound with "Hells Bells" playing in the background? I sure can't.
1. (Next In Line) - Jerry Coleman
There has been talk over the years of adding more faces to the infamous Mount Rushmore, and if they ever happen to do so the next face on the Padres' Mount Rushmore has to be the former manager and longtime radio broadcast announcer, the late great Jerry Coleman.
His legacy will forever be in the hearts of Padres fans, as every "oh doctor" and "you can hang a star on that one" spoken from him made a great play from a Padres' player that much more memorable over the years. He is definitely deserving of a spot.