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Gwyn, Hoffman, Winfield, but who's the fourth face on the mountain?
MLB Mt. Rushmores
by Charlie Miller
The question posed recently whether Derek Jeter should be considered as part of the Yankees’ Mt. Rushmore piqued my interest. Not really the Jeter-Yankees part, but the idea that teams should have their own Mt. Rushmores. Who are the four individuals that have risen above all others for each organization? The question sounds simple. Even two guys sitting in a bar can figure that out, right? Not so fast. Let the arguments begin.
San Diego Padres Mt. Rushmore
In the 42-year history of the San Diego Padres, the team has finished in the upper half of its division just 11 times, so winning is not necessarily synonymous with the Padres. It took seven years for the 1969 expansion team to win as many as 65 games. In its 10th season in 1978, the Padres broke through the .500 barrier. But San Diego has been an easy team to root for throughout its history and has typically been loyal to leaders. San Diego is one of only three teams with just two managers since the beginning of the 1995 season. (Atlanta and Minnesota are the others.) There could never be a San Diego Mt. Rushmore without No. 19, Tony Gwynn, or Trevor Hoffman with his 552 saves for the franchise.
Gwynn is no doubt known as Mr. Padre in San Diego. Perhaps, the only player so clearly honored for any franchise. One of only 17 players who spent an entire 20-year career with only one team, Gwynn ranks 16th in major league history with a .338 lifetime average. He owns the nine highest season batting averages in team history.
The future Hall of Fame closer has the highest strikeout per ratio in team history and the lowest WHIP. Teams can win a lot of games when pitchers are not allowing runners on base and striking batters out regularly. Hoffman appeared in 902 games in San Diego, 527 more than any other pitcher.
The tall, talented outfielder is one of three players with more than 1,000 games with the club, joining Gwynn and Garry Templeton. He is second in runs and total bases and third in hits, one behind Templeton. Winfield, who also played more than 1,000 games for the Yankees, was the first player to be enshrined in Cooperstown as a Padre.
The lefthander was the epitome of craftiness. Barely throwing hard enough to break a window, Jones was the first major award winner in San Diego, winning the Cy Young award in 1976. Jones pitched for some bad teams but is the Padres’ only two-time 20-game winner.
The only truly close call was franchise home run leader Nate Colbert, who once hit five home runs in a doubleheader.
Shortstop Garry Templeton ranks among the top three in most offensive categories.
Eric Show is the only pitcher in team history with 100 wins.
Follow Charlie Miller on Twitter @AthlonCharlie or email him Charlie.Miller@AthlonSports.com
Other teams' Mt. Rushmores: