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The San Diego Padres were a minor league baseball team which played in the Pacific Coast League from 1936 through 1968. The team that would eventually become the Padres was well traveled prior to moving to San Diegomarker. It began its existence in 1903 as the Sacramento Solons, a charter member of the PCL. The team moved to Tacomamarker in 1904 (where it won the PCL pennant), returned to Sacramentomarker in 1905, then left the PCL altogether for the next three seasons. The Solons rejoined the PCL in 1909, then moved to San Franciscomarker during the 1914 season, finishing out the season as the San Francisco Missions. The team was sold to businessman Bill "Hardpan" Lane, who moved the team to Salt Lake Citymarker for the 1915 season as the Salt Lake Bees.

Eleven years later Lane moved the Bees to Los Angelesmarker for the 1926 season, and changed their name to the Hollywood Stars. The Stars played at Wrigley Fieldmarker, home of the Los Angeles Angels, winning pennants in 1929 and 1930. When, after the 1935 season, the Angels doubled the Stars' rent, Lane moved the Stars to San Diegomarker for the 1936 season, to become the San Diego Padres.

The city constructed a waterfront stadium for its new team, appropriately called Lane Fieldmarker, replacing a race track that was on the site. The team finished second in its inaugural year in the border city, then won the postseason series and the PCL pennant in 1937, led by the hitting of sophomore outfielder Ted Williams, who was first signed to a contract in 1936.

Though for the next decade or more the Padres were mired in the second division, at last this franchise achieved stability and longevity. The team remained in San Diego for 28 years, displaced only by virtue of San Diego's admission to the major leagues. Finally in 1954, managed by former major league player Lefty O'Doul, the Padres finished first in the PCL for the first time in their history, but were eliminated in the postseason playoffs.

After the 1957 season, the Padres were sold to C. Arnholt Smith, who moved the team from ancient Lane Field to Westgate Park, an 8,200-seat facility located in what is now the Fashion Valley area of Mission Valley In 1960, Smith brought in Eddie Leishman as General Manager/President. Leishman, who had helped run the Yankee farm system throughout the previous 10 years, was brought in with the idea to bring the team to the Major Leagues. The Padres proceeded to win PCL pennants in 1962, 1964, and 1967. The Padres were the class AAA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds from 1962-65; some of their players (including Tony Perez) would become vital cogs of what was called the "Big Red Machine" Reds' teams of the 1970's. The Pads won a final PCL pennant in 1967 as a farm club of the Philadelphia Phillies.

In 1967, Smith won a bid for an expansion team in the National League for the 1969 season. After the 1968 PCL season, he folded the team, and transferred the name of the club to his new NL team, the San Diego Padres. The Phillies would move its AAA affiliation to the Eugene Emeralds.


The Padres, like most PCL clubs, operated without a working agreement with or outright ownership by a major league team throughout much of the 1930s and 1940s, and again in the mid-1950s when the PCL was an Open Classification league attempting to attain MLB status. They were affiliated with the following major league teams:

1936 Boston Red Sox
1949-51; 1957-59 Cleveland Indians
1960-61 Chicago White Sox
1962-65 Cincinnati Reds
1966-68 Philadelphia Phillies


  • O'Neal, Bill. The Pacific Coast League 1903-1988. Eakin Press, Austin TX, 1990. ISBN 0-89015-776-6.
  • Snelling, Dennis. The Pacific Coast League: A Statistical History, 1903-1957 McFarland & Company, Inc., Jefferson, NC, 1995. ISBN 0-7864-0045-5.

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