Friar Favorites: The Best Second Basemen Ever

Eric GomezAnalyst INovember 23, 2008

This offseason, I've taken it upon myself to keep the content flowing by assembling a list of the best Padres of all-time that YOU will help me select. Last time, we looked at the best 1B in franchise history, and today we make our way around the infield by making a case for four second basemen.

We will go through the candidates in alphabetical order, with brief paragraphs outlining their case. Voting will then take place, and the winner will receive an article that includes a full player profile; and will be included in our list of the greatest Padres of all-time.

Arguably one of the positions with the weakest batch of candidates, San Diego's list of second basemen includes only one player who stayed with the club for more than four seasons. However, they've been professionals who have left a sufficient legacy for us to include them in this list.

And now, the nominees.

Roberto Alomar (1988 - 1990) — A Hall of Fame caliber player, Alomar was traded away prior to the 1991 season along with Joe Carter for Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff.

Alomar and Carter would become integral parts of the Blue Jays' consecutive world championships, while McGriff and Fernandez would be playing away from San Diego before 1994.

In three seasons, Alomar showed flashes of what was to come, posting 60 RBI in 1990, and earning an All-Star selection that very year. His 42 SB in 1989 were second in the N.L.

Despite his short stay, he ranks among the Padres top 25 all-time in doubles, and SB.

Mark Loretta (2003 - 2005) — A shrewd, free-agent signing by Padres GM Kevin Towers, Loretta became one of the best hitting middle infielders in franchise history in only three years.

Never hitting below .280 in his tenure, Loretta's 2004 season was especially good, as he was an MVP candidate, became an All-Star, ranked third in the N.L. with a .335 BA and won the Silver Slugger award in recognition of his outstanding season.

His 47 doubles that year are second only to Tony Gwynn's 49 on the list of best seasons in franchise history. His 208 hits rank in 2004 is fifth in franchise history as well. After a 2005 season that was slowed by injury, Loretta exited the Padres after an NLDS sweep to the Cardinals.

Bip Roberts (1986 - 1991, 1994 - 1995) — Charismatic and a fan-favorite, the Bipper definitely has the stats to back up his popularity in San Diego. A speedy, consistent hitter, Roberts set the table for San Diego lineups for the better part of a decade.

His .298 lifetime average in San Diego ranks second all-time, only behind (who else?) Tony Gwynn. His ability to swipe a bag almost any time he got on is also reflected in his 148 SB, good for fourth all-time.

During 1990, his best season in San Diego, Bip stole 46 bags, good for seventh in the N.L., and his .309 BA ranked ninth in the senior circuit. He was also on base a total of 233 times that season, also ninth in the N.L.

In his second tenure, he was slowed by injury, but was still enough of a bargaining chip to land Wally Joyner in a trade that sent Roberts to Kansas City after the 1995 season.

Quilvio Veras (1997 - 1999) — In three seasons with the Padres, the speedy Dominican set the table for San Diego's lineups, and his steady play in 1998 was part of a club that made the World Series.

Speedy and a solid defender, the former Rookie of the Year candidate with Florida stole 33 bases in 1997, good for seventh in the N.L. His good eye at the plate was also visibly apparent that season, as he drew 84 walks, ranking 10th in the league.

After injuries sidelined him for 30 games in 1999, he was traded along with Wally Joyner to Atlanta for Reggie Sanders and Bret Boone, among others. He would end his career there only a couple of seasons later, never able to regain the form achieved in San Diego.