It took a lot of Ray Kroc's Big Mac money to finally get the Friars (84-78) north of the .500 mark. After toiling near or in the cellar for the first 9 seasons of the franchise's existence San Diego finally had a winner. Surrounding home grown superstar Dave Winfield and 1976 Cy Young Award winner Randy Jones was a cast of imports and guys who came up through the farm system. Kroc raided the dying embers of the Oakland A's early 1970's dynasty by adding Gene Tenace, Rollie Fingers and George Hendrick. A 39 year old Gaylord Perry won 20 games and became the first man to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues. Kroc even did the Mets a favor and took a rotund Mickey Lolich off their hands in hopes of squeezing out one more good season from "the fat man". A rookie shortstop, who made spectacular plays in the field, but carried a weak bat caught the eyes of many a fan. He was 6 or 7 years shy of his back flipping days in St. Louis, but Ozzie Smith had a major league glove and a bat in search of artificial turf. The pitching staff was 2nd in the league in ERA and first in saves, thanks to Fingers (37) and John D'Acquisto (10), but with a lineup that featured just two guys who hit more than 10 homers it is amazing that they won 84 games. Dave Winfield (24) and Gene Tenace (16) were the only long ball threats on this team. The power outage even affected Oscar Gamble, who was usually good for 25+ homers. San Diego finished 10th in homer runs and 8th in batting average in the NL. Manager Joey Scigliano, who is returning for his 10th season behind the Padres bench, sure his his work cut out for him. Expect him to rely heavily on his pitching staff and play a lot of small ball to contend in the NL West.
To finish off the 1978 Topps set for the Padres I had to add 22 additional cards.