San Diego Padres Team History
In 1969, the San Diego Padres joined the ranks of Major League Baseball as one of four new expansion teams, along with the Montreal Expos, now the Washington Nationals, the Kansas City Royals and the Seattle Pilots, now the Milwaukee Brewers. Their original owner was C. Arnholt Smith, a prominent San Diego businessman and former owner of the PCL Padres whose interests included banking, tuna fishing, hotels, real estate and an airline. Despite initial excitement, the guidance of longtime baseball executives, Eddie Leishman and Buzzie Bavasi as well as a new playing field, the team struggled; the Padres finished in last place in each of its first six seasons in the NL West, losing 100 games or more four times. One of the few bright spots on the team during the early years was first baseman and slugger Nate Colbert, an expansion draftee from the Houston Astros and still (as of 2009) the Padres’ career leader in home runs.
In 1974, Kroc decided to retire from being CEO of McDonald’s. While he was looking for new jobs, he decided to get back into baseball, his lifelong favorite sport, when he learned that the San Diego Padres were for sale. The team had been conditionally sold by founding owner C. Arnholt Smith to Washington grocery-chain owner Joseph Danzansky, who planned to move the Padres to Washington. However, the sale was tied up in lawsuits when Kroc purchased the team for $12 million, saving baseball in San Diego. In Kroc’s first year of ownership in 1974, the Padres lost 102 games, yet drew over one million in attendance, the standard of success in the major leagues during that era. Their previous top attendance was 644,772 in 1972. The San Diego Union said Kroc was “above all, a fan of his team”. On April 9, 1974, while the Padres were on the brink of losing a 9-5 decision to the Houston Astros in the season opener at San Diego Stadium, Kroc took the public address microphone in front of 39,083 fans. “I’ve never seen such stupid ball playing in my life,” he said. The crowd of around 40,000 cheered in approval. In 1979, Kroc’s public interest in future free agent players Graig Nettles and Joe Morgan drew a $100,000 fine from Commissioner Bowie Kuhn. Frustrated with the team, he handed over operations of the team to his son-in-law, Ballard Smith. “There’s more future in hamburgers than baseball,” Kroc said.
Kroc was inducted posthumously as part of the inaugural class of the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame in 1999.
The 1984 season began with a shock: Ray Kroc died of heart disease on January 14. Ownership of the team passed to his third wife, Joan Kroc. The team would wear Ray’s initials, “RAK” on their jersey’s left sleeve during the entire season, as well as the 1985 and 1986 seasons.
She tried to donate the team to the city of San Diego, the San Diego Padres went on to win its first ever National League pennant that year, but Major League Baseball rules forbid public team ownership. Joan Kroc sold the team in 1990
PETCO Park is situated in downtown near San Diego’s Gaslamp District, the main entrance located just two blocks from the downtown terminal of the San Diego Trolley light-rail system. With new amenities and a revitalization of the downtown neighborhood, fan interest renewed. Modeled after recent successes in downtown ballpark building (such as San Francisco’s AT&T Park), and incorporating San Diego history in the form of the preservation of the facade of the historic Western Metals Company building (now the left-field corner, the corner of the building substituting for the left field foul pole), the new Petco Park is a sharp contrast to their previous home at Qualcomm (Jack Murphy) Stadium which was a cookie-cutter type football-baseball facility located in an outer, mostly commercial-industrial, area of the city near an interstate interchange.
Werner’s time as majority owner ended when John Moores acquired an 80% interest for $80 million on December 22, 1994. Werner retained a 10% share in the franchise until he sold it to Moores before the start of the 2007 season.
In 2009, Moorad put together a group to buy the San Diego Padres from John Moores. Moorad and his group of 12 investors (including former client Troy Aikman, billionaire Chairman/CEO of Save Mart Supermarkets Bob Piccinini, and then-CEO of Panda Express Tom Davin) began purchase of the team with Moorad serving as club CEO and Vice-Chairman. The sale was valued at about $500 million, and the group planned to purchase the team over five years. During this time, Moorad’s group also purchased the Padres’ minor league Triple-A team, the Portland Beavers.
By January 2012, Moorad and his group held 49% ownership of the Padres when MLB deferred voting approval for the group to complete the sale with Moores. In March 2012, Moorad withdrew the group’s application to complete the full purchase of the Padres. He stepped down as CEO of the Padres later that month, but remained with the team as Vice-Chairman. Some media outlets speculated that Moorad was short of the needed support of 22 MLB team owners to complete the purchase of the Padres, though only two were suspected of opposing Moorad’s ownership two would have been enough for Selig to delay voting, however, given his desire, and good record for unanimous votes by MLB owners. Moores declared that the entire team was up for sale again in April, citing the good opportunity in the market after the record $2 billion sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers; Moorad’s minority group would receive 49% of the proceeds of any sale of the Padres. Moorad was succeeded by Ron Fowler as lead of the group of any owners transferring ownership to the new purchase. In August, the Padres were sold for $800 million, a $300 million increase over the valuation in the 2009 sale.
The San Diego Padres are an American professional baseball franchise based in San Diego, California. The Padres compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) West division, along with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Colorado Rockies, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. Founded in 1969, the Padres have won the NL pennant twice: in 1984 and 1998, losing in the World Series both times. As of 2015, they have had 14 winning seasons in franchise history. The Padres and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are the only Major League Baseball teams in California to originate from California; the Athletics are originally from Philadelphia (and moved to the state from Kansas City), and the Dodgers and Giants are originally from Brooklyn and New York City respectively. The Padres are the only major professional sports franchise to be located in San Diego, following the relocation of the Chargers to Los Angeles in 2017.
2000 – Present Major League Baseball
1969 – 1999 National League
Padres – When San Diego was awarded an expansion team in 1969, the club adopted the nickname of the city’s Pacific Coast League team, the Padres. The nickname, which is Spanish for father or priest, was a reference to San Diego’s status as the first Spanish Mission in California.
1969 – Present San Diego Padres
World Series 0
2004 – Present PETCO Park
1998 – 2003 Qualcomm Stadium
1980 – 1997 Jack Murphy Stadium
1969 – 1980 San Diego Stadium
1994 – Present John Moores
1990 – 1994 Tom Werner
1984 – 1990 Joan Kroc
1974 – 1984 Ray Kroc
1969 – 1974 C. Arnholt Smith
6 Steve Garvey
19 Tony Gwynn
31 Dave Winfield
35 Randy Jones
51 Trevor Hoffman
42 Jackie Robinson
– Jerry Coleman
– Ray Kroc
1996 – Present Swinging Friar
1974 – 1979 San Diego Chicken
*Blue is this team’s history