Let me start out by saying yes, Tony Gwynn, one of the greatest hitters to ever live, was selected to 15 All-Star games.
We should all acknowledge that earning that many selections is rarely done.
Aside from Gwynn, the Padres have a very uninspiring list of hitters in the Mid-Summer Classic. Here is the complete list of hitters that have been selected as All-Stars in a Padres uniform:
Chris Cannizzaro, Cito Gaston, Nate Colbert, Johnny Grubb, Dave Winfield, Terry Kennedy, Ozzie Smith, Ruppert Jones, Steve Garvey, Tony Gwynn, Graig Nettles, Garry Templeton, Benito Santiago, Roberto Alomar, Fred McGriff, Tony Fernandez, Gary Sheffield, Ken Caminiti, Steve Finley, Greg Vaughn, Ryan Klesko, Phil Nevin, Rondell White, Mark Loretta, Adrian Gonzalez, Everth Cabrera, Justin Upton and Wil Myers.
28 players in 50 years. Not accounting for repeats such as Gwynn or Gonzalez, that’s about one hitter every two years.
Since Petco Park opened, the Padres have sent hitters to the All-Star Game just seven times in 15 seasons and just three in the past seven years.
Consider that the rule since at least 2010 has been that there should be at least one representative from each team, the lack of position players the Padres have sent is painfully obvious.
Let’s compare the Padres’ 28 different hitters to the other three teams that were also founded in 1969 and see how the Padres’ number stacks up.
Kansas City Royals: 27
Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals: 34
Milwaukee Brewers (Seattle Pilots in 1969): 32
They do have one more than the Royals but overall, the list is lacking. Why? I recently wrote about how the Padres have historically stunk as a team in hitting, basically the entire franchise’s history.
It’s time for this to end. It’s time to get Padres hitters on the national stage. 2016 was as close to that as the Friars have come in a long time. That’s easy since the Mid-Summer Classic was in our beautiful city and Petco Park. The teams were decked out in classic brown and yellow Padres-themed uniforms. Wil Myers participated in the Home Run Derby and even though it was a quick exit for him, it was fun to see a Friar in the event for the first time since Adrian Gonzalez in 2009.
In 2018, the Padres, for the third time in the last four years, will send only one player, a pitcher, to the game.
There are a lot more important issues to complain about but it would be nice to see more Padres hitters get love. But first, they have to earn that love and I don’t think any right-minded fan would look at this 2018 team and call any Padres hitter a snub for the All-Star Game in D.C. next week. Christian Villanueva leads the team with 17 home runs but he is also is hitting just .226 with a barely average 105 wRC+.
The Padres leading qualified hitter is Jose Pirela at .261. Need I say more?
In the actual All-Star Game itself, Padres hitters have made very little impact, at least recently. We all remember Tony Gwynn rounding the bases to score the winning run in the 1994 game in Pittsburgh. Gwynn went 2-for-5 before scoring that run.
The only Padre to ever homer in the Mid-Summer Classic was Ken Caminiti in 1996.
Tony Gwynn of course laps the competition of any other Padre for plate appearances in an All-Star Game as he has 32. He recorded seven hits, a double and four RBI in his 15 All-Star selections.
A Padres batter has never won the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, LaMarr Hoyt in 1985, is the lone Friars winner as a right-handed pitcher.
Let’s talk more recently. The last Padre to hit in the All-Star game is the aforementioned Myers in 2016, when he went 1 for 3 with a double at Petco Park. The year before, it was Justin Upton, who singled in his only plate appearance.
Everth Cabrera made the 2013 roster but did not get an at bat in the game itself.
The last mainstay hitter for the Padres in the Mid-Summer Classic was Adrian Gonzalez. He made the team as a Friar three straight years from 2008 to 2010 and as mentioned, participated in the 2009 Home Run Derby. He went 1-for-5 with a walk and RBI in those three games.
Is this a huge deal that impacts the Padres chasing their first ever World Series championship? Of course not. It would just be nice to see the Padres have hitters worthy of recognition again like they did in the 1990s. During that decade, the Padres sent nine different hitters to the All-Star game and in the 2010-2018 decade, they have only sent four.
2018 means we will have to wait yet another year for a Padres hitter to step up to the plate in the MLB Crown Jewel in July. Will 2019 be different? Who knows. The Padres currently have two former All-Stars in their lineup in Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers. Perhaps one of them makes a worthy appearance next season or are we going to have to wait until that tidal wave of talent finally reaches the big leagues.