The 1998 Padres brought joy to the city of San Diego

Credit: AP Photo

Mandatory Credit: Getty Images
Mandatory Credit: Getty Images

Left Field- Greg Vaughn

What an absolute beast Greg Vaughn was in 1998.

The man just powered home runs over the fences with brute strength. His 50 home runs in a season is still a franchise record for the San Diego Padres.

That 1998 season, when he slugged 50 homers goes down as one of the best seasons in Padres’ history. Vaughn looked to be a rental for the 1996 season but decided to re-sign in San Diego, and it was an excellent decision for both Vaughn and the Padres.

Greg Vaughn was a first-round pick (4th overall) in the 1986 amateur draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. He made his professional debut with the Brewers in August of 1989. He went on to play in 38 games that season, hitting .265 and slugging five home runs while driving in 23 runs in 113 at-bats.

At the age of 24 in 1990, Vaughn was awarded the everyday job in left field. He was a fixture in the Brewers’ lineup for the next six seasons. His best year as a Brewer was 1993 when Vaughn hit 30 home runs and recorded 97 RBIs while batting .260 for the Brew Crew.

At the age of 30, in 1996, Vaughn was in the midst of his second All-Star season for the Brewers. The Brewers were not in playoff contention, so Vaughn was deemed expendable in his contract year. On July 31, 1996, at the trade deadline, the Milwaukee Brewers sent Greg Vaughn to the Padres for Marc Newfield, Bryce Florie, and Ron Villone.

At the time, Padre fans were on cloud nine, not used to the team being a bidder at the trade deadline. It was a great feeling, a feeling that the team was doing it’s best to win it all. Fans appreciate that. They appreciate it when the team goes for it all. It creates an excitement that cannot be denied.

In 159 games for the Padres in 1998, Vaughn hit 50 home runs and drove in 119 runs.

The slugger was dealt on February 2, 1999, with Mark Sweeney to the Cincinnati Reds for Reggie Sanders, Josh Harris, and Damian Jackson. It ended Vaughn’s three-year career as a Padre. He totaled 321 games in those three seasons, batting .245 with a .510 slugging percentage. He smacked 78 home runs and drove in 198 runs as a Padre with 22 stolen bases to boot.

A .272/.363/.597 is what he produced that season. Nearly slugging .600 was a great accomplishment for the Padres’ left fielder. Vaughn’s son Cory Vaughn played baseball under Tony Gwynn at San Diego State University from 2008-2010. He was drafted by the Mets in the fourth round of the 2010 draft and spent time in their minor league system.

Greg Vaughn lives in Sacramento but is a fixture in and around San Diego. He can be heard on the local airwaves now and again and also makes his way to San Diego from time to time to participate in Padres related functions.


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