Let us remember the 1998 San Diego Padres, a team that brought much joy to the city of San Diego. The team is currently being celebrated at Petco Park this weekend in a four-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals.
The success of that particular team came at the correct time, as the city was in the midst of a battle over a potential new ballpark for the Padres. “Keep the Faith” was the slogan given to the fans by Larry Luchino and team executives to rally the citizens.
The Padres had a brief appearance in the 1996 playoffs, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in five games.
With that showing, the organization saw how energized the city of San Diego became. A city that had only been in the MLB playoffs in 1984 and 1996 was starved for playoff baseball and they kept the faith. The team rewarded Padre fans with a magical season full of ups and downs, a season that will always hold a special place in the hearts of Padre fans.
The 1997 season actually saw the Padres finish last in the National League West. Their 76-86 record put them 14 games behind the San Francisco Giants. The team wasn’t horrible, but it was missing something. The Friars needed an ace and they also needed an attitude.
Kevin Brown was a legitimate ace and an absolute work horse.
The right-handed pitcher had just helped guide the 1997 Marlins to a World Series Championship, and was shockingly made available. Padres’ G.M. Kevin Towers jumped at the opportunity and parted with can’t miss prospect Derrek Lee to obtain Brown.
It proved to be a great move for the short-term, but horrible in the long-term. Lee ended up being a two-time MLB All-Star, N.L. Batting Title winner (2005), and three-time Gold Glove recipient at first base in his career. He also help guide the 2003 Marlins to a World Series title. Still, the one year of Kevin Brown was probably worth it if you ask most fans.
Let’s take a look at the 1998 Padres, position by position as we recognize their efforts in this 20th anniversary of their team.
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