Padres Baseball History Timeline

1936 - The Padres began as a minor league team in the Pacific Coast League, playing at Lane Field built by the WPA with 10.000 seats at the foot of Broadway downtown until 1958 when owner C. Arnholt Smith moved the Padres to Westgate Park, today the site of the Fashion Valley shopping center.

1954 - The Padres beat the Hollywood Stars 7-2 and won the Pacific Coast League championship.

1958 - California emerged as a Major League baseball player when the Dodgers and Giants franchises moved to the Golden State from New York.

1967 - Jack Murphy, sports editor of The San Diego Union, led the campaign for a new stadium in Mission Valley that opened in 1967 as home of the San Diego Chargers American League football team that had been playing in Balboa Stadium since 1961; the proposal for the new $27 million stadium was passed with a 72% voter approval; orginally call San Diego Stadium with 50,000 seats, it was expanded to 70,000 seats and renamed San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium in 1981, then renamed Qualcomm Stadium in 1997.

Lane Field at Broadway pier c. 1936, from SDHS
Westgate Park in Mission Valley 1958, from SDHS

1968 - The Padres were awarded a Major League baseball franchise.

1972 - Jerry "Oh Doctor!" Coleman began his long career as broadcaster of the Padres.

1974 - McDonald's founder Ray Kroc boughts the Padres from C. Arnholt Smith, prevented the team from moving to Washington, DC.

1982 - Tony Gwynn began his 20 years as "Mr. Padre"

1984 - Owner Ray Kroc died Jan. 14;. Mrs. Joan Kroc took over as owner; on Oct. 7, the Padres won the National League championship after Steve Garvey hit a decisive home run to defeat the Chicago Cubs 6-3.

1990 - Tom Werner led a group of businessmen who bought the team from Joan Kroc.

1994 - John Moores and Larry Lucchino became the new owners of the San Diego Padres baseball team.

Petco Park

Petco Park July 11, 2004

1996 - Padres owner John Moores made his first public pronouncement that his franchise could not survive without a new ballpark.

1997 - The Task Force on Padres Planning appointed by Mayor Susan Golding agreed with John Moores that the Padres needed a new stadium and proposed that it be located downtown.

1998 - Proposition C is approved by 59.5% of San Diego voters; the ballot measure proposed to create a 26-block redevelopment area in downtown San Diego near the Gaslamp and Convention Center to build a $411 million ballpark.

1999 - Construction of the ballpark is temporarily halted after a Superior Court judge ruled that the city did not complete an enviromental study.

2000 - For the first time in San Diego history, a building was imploded to make way for new construction; on April 1, the four-story San Diego Gas & Electric Co. service building at Imperial and 9th came down so a ballpark could go up.

2000 - A federal corruption investigation revealed Councilwoman Valerie Stallings made a large amount of money on the initial public offering of stock in a software company headed by John Moores, generating a huge profit during the same period the City Council voted on the ballpark project; Stallings pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors, Moores was cleared of any charges; Stallings resigned from office and the misdemeanors were later purged from her record.

2000 - Ballpark excavation began May 22 but halted Sept. 29 when funding ran out due to the failure of the city to issue bonds and to 17 anti-ballpark lawsuits and the Stallings scandal.

2002 - After the city sold $169 million in tax-free bonds, construction on the ballpark resumed Feb. 19.

2002 - The Padres officially announced May 24 that it had raised $135 million in private notes to pay its share of ballpark costs; on Nov. 22 the Padres revealed plans plans for three high-rise building of 11 to 21 stories to surround the grassy outfield area known as the "Park at the Park" that now was going to be half its original size; the buildings around the ballpark originally were to be six stories or less.

2003 - The Padres announced on Jan. 22 that a 22-year deal worth $60 million was signed with the San Diego-based pet supply company Petco to name the ballpark Petco Park.

April 23, 2003: The City Council orders the Padres to enlarge Park at the Park, which the team agrees to do.

2003 - The City Council Dec. 2 approved a master plan for development around the ballpark that included several high-rise buildings limited to 22 stories.

2004 - The city issued on Feb. 18 a certificate of occupancy for the ballpark; construction was declared to be "substantially completed."

2004 - The first baseball game was played at Petco Park on March 11; the San Diego State University Aztecs defeated the University of Houston Cougars, 4-0; the 40,106 attendance was the largest crowd in college baseball history.

2004 - On April 3 the Padres played an exhibition game at Petco Park against the Seattle Mariners.

2004 - Opening Day was April 8, with the Padres defeating the Giants 4-3 in extra innings in front of 41,400 fans.

Petco Park July 11, 2004
Petco Park April 30, 2004
Petco Park July 11, 2004



revised 8/7/04 by Schoenherr | San Diego Local History