Only the 1984 and 1998 San Diego Padres teams have reached the World Series. Can one of them survive a challenge from other great Padres teams?
Created as part of the 1969 expansion, the San Diego Padres have frequently found themselves of the short end of the talent scale. Only five Padres teams have played a post-season game, and the franchise record is 642 games under .500.
So filling out an eight-team all-time bracket will necessarily involve including some clubs that aren’t thought of as traditional powerhouses.
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Begin obviously with those post-season qualifiers. The first San Diego team to do so won the National League pennant in 1984 before losing the World Series in five games to the Detroit Tigers. The Padres won a second NL West title in 1996, and in 1998 returned to the World Series, only to be swept by a superb Yankee team.
In 2005 and again in 2006, San Diego won the NL West but quickly fell out to St. Louis in the division round.
As for the remaining three spots, it will be necessary to look at the best records among non-post season teams. By that standard, the best was the 90-win Padre team of 2010. It finished second in the NL West, two games behind the eventual World Champion San Francisco Giants and just one game behind the wild card qualifying Cardinals.
The 1989 Padres won 89 games and also finished second in the West, that time three games behind the Giants.
If we were going strictly by record our final spot would go to either the 2004 or 2007 Padres, who won 87 and 89 games respectively. But that era is already well-represented by the 2005 and 2006 division winners. A better choice is to look to the first moderately successful Padres team, the 1978 bunch featuring Dave Winfield.
At 84-78 it was the first Padre team to win more games than it lost. Granted, that was only good for fourth in the NL West, but the West held the balance of power that season and choosing the 1978 team adds some desired chronological balance.
The format is identical to previous bracket challenges. Each matchup in the tournament is decided based on seven criteria. You can think of each as a ‘game,’ the winner of four games advancing. The seven criteria are:
- Game 1: Regular season winning percentage.
- Game 2: Post-season winning percentage
- Game 3: Team OPS+
- Game 4: Team ERA+
- Game 5 (if necessary): Team WAR
- Game 6 (if necessary: Fielding percentage above the league average for the season in question.
- Game 7 (if necessary): Hall of Famers or likely future Hall of Famers