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Padres Mt. Rushmore 

Mt. Rushmore is not a collection of the United States’ best Presidents.  While it is possible they are the 4 best, that is not the point.  They were chosen for their impact.  In other words: they were important.  Obviously San Diego does not have a massive slab of granite with which to create its own monument, and I doubt any sculpture would last long in the sedimentary cliffs of La Jolla or Ocean Beach.

However, just for fun, let’s play the “what if” game.

You know how this works.  If the local, professional baseball team decided to create a similar monument (on Cowles Mountain perhaps) what would it look like?  If you could only pick 4 faces to etch in stone as the 4 that had the greatest impact on team history, who would they be?

First, they would need to do something big and out-of-the-ordinary.  With all due respect to Randy Jones, and I mean this is the most respectful way possible, the team literally accomplished nothing during his tenure (‘73-‘80) here.  So, as my first decision that will likely draw the ire of long-time fans: RJ is out.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love RJ; he was an attraction in the 70’s.  But the team never finished higher than 4th in its division during his time.  Granted, this was by no fault of his own, but the point here is: Padres history would be no different if Jones played for the Reds.

Second, longevity is not necessarily a prerequisite.  Garry Templeton and Tim Flannery are numbers 2 and 4 on the all-time games played list.  Neither one makes the cut here.  Again, the reason is simple: think of the largest moment in Padres history that was the result of a Templeton or Flannery play… go ahead, I’ll wait.

With that out of the way: here we go.

 

Spot #1 (the George Washington, front-of-the-line spot):

Tony Gwynn

No secret here at all.  I won’t bore with running down any of T’s stats.  He is Mr. Padre and already has been etched in stone (if you can find him behind the Fox Sports set at Petco Park)

 

Spot #2 (the Thomas Jefferson, less visible spot)

Ray Kroc

Surprise!  He’s not a player.  But fans, especially the newer ones, need to understand this one fact: The San Diego Padres would not exist right now (they’d be in Washington and probably not named the Padres) if it was not for the sale of the team in 1974.

 

Spot #3 (the Teddy Roosevelt, tucked in the corner and barely visible spot)

Jerry Coleman

This was supposed to be Ken Caminiti.  I had this blurb written and I had to remove it.  He cheated.  I can’t show my son a homage to someone who broke the rules.  Therefore, the Colonel gets this spot.  Few announcers are tied to a franchise like Coleman is to the Padres.  In addition, he is a veteran, former manager and Hall of Famer and all-around exceptional human being.

 

Spot #4 (the Abe Lincoln, only one facing the other direction and therefore stands out spot)

Trevor Hoffman

This is no-brainer number 2.  Best reliever in team history.  The argument can be made he is the best pitcher in team history but I know some people think only starters deserve that designation.  He will be in the Hall of Fame with a SD lid.  Not to mention he ended multiple games to win titles for the team.

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About the author: Richard Dorsha

The Padres above all others. There is nothing else in sports I want more than a Padres World Series title. My sports fandom begins and ends with the Friars. A San Diegan and Padre fan for more than 30 years now. Love to view the Padres from a historical context after reading about the team's humble beginnings to the dream come true of joining the National League. Been to more Padre games than I can count, seen more hours of Padre baseball than I care to mention.

  • Brandon Cline

    Here’s my take in equating each of the presidents with key figures in Padres history that best fits each president. At least two of them….I still need to do work stuff.

    George Washington: 1st president under the new United States as dictated by the Constitution. Solid military leader and helped secure key victories in the Revolutionary War.

    Padres equivalent: Ray Kroc. The Padres, much like the early United States, were close to ceasing to exist. He was the first leader of the newly saved Padres and had a big help in keeping them here.

    Thomas Jefferson: 2nd president. Secured the Louisiana Purchase and paved for westward exploration and expansion (Louis & Clark during his tenure).

    Padres equivalent: Larry Lucchino. He helped establish Channel 4 as a means to bring ever more Padres games to San Diego households. Many Padres fans were able to see the glorious 1998 season unfold. Furthermore, this Ch. 4. lead to Fox Sports SD which now people across the nation can see Padres games on satellite.

  • coachwill13

    My initial list was Gwynn, Hoffman, R. Jones, and Kroc. Then you threw in the Coleman angle and I have to agree. Sorry RJ.

  • coachwill13

    Garvey and Winfield have their numbers retired, but don’t even get a mention here. I agree that Garvey should not have been retired. It was his moment that made him forever linked to Padres history. Winfield was the first Padre in the HOF, but If I recall, we paid him to go in as a Padre so I don’t have that much pride there. I doubt most people around the country picture Winfield as a Padre when they think back on his career. Not that he didn’t play well here.

  • Transplanted Padre Fan

    How fitting that two of the rock faces are non-players, what does that say about our Padre history. Player Mt. Rushmore which is what I’m interested in are: Tony Gwynn, Trevor Hoffman, Randy Jones & Nate Colbert. Ray & Jerry can be on the executives Mt. Rushmore.

  • Ele vation

    #1 Gwynn
    #2 Hoffman
    #3 Caminiti
    #4 Peavy