Padres' Top 10 All-Star moments

Gwynn's performance in '94 Classic tops list

Padres' Top 10 All-Star moments

Bill Center, longtime sportswriter for U-T San Diego, is an employee of the Padres.

Tony Gwynn had a number of great games during his Hall of Fame career.

But the legend once described a game that didn't count in the standings as one of the "best nights of his career."

The game was played on July 12, 1994, at Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh. It was the 65th All-Star Game.

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"Even before the ending, it was one of the greater days of my career," Gwynn said years later. "The National League team was really pumped going into the game. We had lost six straight All-Star Games after dominating the series. It was like everyone was into ending the losing streak."

And the losing streak ended when Gwynn scored from first in the bottom of the 10th, sliding under the tag of Rangers catcher Pudge Rodriguez to give the NL an 8-7 win.

"I remember sliding across the plate," Gwynn later recalled. "I popped up into the air, signaled safe and started the celebration. It was a very emotional moment. It was a very emotional game."

Gwynn had opened the 10th with a single to center off Jason Bere. When Moises Alou doubled to left-center, the Padres legend took off and never stopped, barely beating the relay to the plate to give the NL the walk-off win.

Earlier in the game, Gwynn hit a two-run double off David Cone to give the NL a 3-1 lead. He scored on a Mike Piazza single later in the third inning to make it 4-1. But the American League rallied to take a 7-5 lead in the seventh before former Padre Fred McGriff hit a two-run, pinch-hit homer to send the game into extra innings in the bottom of the ninth.

Gwynn finished 2-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and two RBIs.

But McGriff was named the Most Valuable Player.

In my mind, Gwynn's 1994 performance was the greatest All-Star moment in Padres' history. Here are the rest of my top 10 Padres' All-Star memories:

2. Changing the Game as the host city in 1992: The second Midsummer Classic hosted by the Padres wasn't much of a contest. The AL won, 13-6, as MVP Ken Griffey Jr. went 3-for-3 with a homer, a double, two runs scored and two RBIs. But the Padres created the template for the extravaganza that is the modern All-Star Game. For the first time in the history of the event, the Padres opened the gates to Jack Murphy Stadium for the practices on the eve of the All-Star Game. The pregame party became a huge event.

Griffey homers in All-Star Game

3. Randy Jones makes history: Eight seasons after the Padres were born, left-hander Randy Jones became the first Padre to start in an All-Star Game in 1976. He also became the first San Diego pitcher to win the Midsummer Classic. Jones allowed two hits and a walk while striking out one in three scoreless innings. The NL led, 4-0, when Jones left the game and won, 7-1.

4. Stuffing the roster: A year after winning their first NL title, the Padres had five starters -- Gwynn, first baseman Steve Garvey, catcher Terry Kennedy, third baseman Graig Nettles and starting pitcher LaMarr Hoyt -- in the 1985 All-Star Game. They also had shortstop Garry Templeton and closer Goose Gossage on a team led by Padres manager Dick Williams. Hoyt allowed one unearned run on two hits over three innings to get the win in the NL's 6-1 victory in Minneapolis. Gossage struck out two in a scoreless inning to earn the save. Garvey and Kennedy each had a hit and a RBI. Templeton also had a hit.

5. Good hosts: Shortly after Ray Kroc bought the Padres in 1974 to save Major League Baseball in San Diego, the Padres were awarded the 1978 All-Star Game. The July 11 event drew a capacity crowd of 51,549 to San Diego Stadium. Fans gave outfielder Dave Winfield, who was the first Padres player voted to the starting lineup, and reliever Rollie Fingers standing ovations as San Diego had two players named to the game for the first time. Fingers allowed a hit with a strikeout over two scoreless innings. Winfield was 1-for-2 and scored a run in the NL's 7-3 win.

6. Caminiti's blast: The 1996 All-Star Game at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia was highlighted by Ken Caminiti's monumental home run off Roger Pavlik. Caminiti's blast to left-center was one of the longest recorded at the Vet and the first home run by a Padre in an All-Star Game. Gwynn was voted to the starting lineup, but couldn't play in the NL's 6-0 win due to an injury.

7. Adrian Gonzalez at Yankee Stadium: The Padres first baseman tied the 2008 All-Star Game at 2 with a sacrifice fly in the top of the eighth. Gonzalez was 1-for-3, although the AL won, 4-3, in the 15th inning.

8. Winfield makes a mark: Winfield was a first-time All-Star in 1977. He went 2-for-2, with a double and a two-run single in the eighth that gave the NL a 7-3 lead in a game it won, 7-5. Winfield was the first Padre to get a hit in an All-Star Game.

9. Half the offense: Outfielders Greg Vaughn and Gwynn each had a hit and two RBIs in the NL's 13-8 loss at Coors Field in Denver in the 1998 Midsummer Classic. Right-hander Kevin Brown had a strikeout in a perfect two-thirds of an inning.

10. Tony and Ted: On July 13, 1999, the greats of the game assembled around Ted Williams at Fenway Park. By Williams' side during the pregame ceremonies stood Gwynn, who was voted to the NL's starting lineup for the final time, although he couldn't play due to injury.