The Parents announced Thursday night that the former player Nate Colbertthree times summoned to the Game of Stars, passed away at 76 years of age. No player in the franchise’s 54-season history hit more home runs than the 163 Colbert hit while wearing a Friars uniform between 1969 and 1974. He surpasses Mexican Adrián González, who is second with 161, followed by Phil Nevin with 156, Dave Winfield with 154 and Tony Gwynn with 135.
“We are extremely saddened by the passing of Padres Hall of Famer Nate Colbert,” Padres president Peter Seidler said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to his wife Kasey and his entire family at this very difficult time.”
Originally signed by the Cardinals in 1964, Colbert was taken by the Astros in the Rule 5 Draft the following year. He made his major league debut with Houston in 1966, playing in 19 games and going 0-for-7. He hit .151 in 56 plate appearances for the Astros in 1968 before being taken by the Padres in that year’s Expansion Draft.
Colbert’s career took off in San Diego. Between 1969 and 1973, the first baseman and left fielder averaged 30 home runs a season and hit .260/.333/.483. He was named to the All-Star Game three times in that span and finished eighth in the National League MVP voting in 1972. That season also set several major league records on Aug. 1, when he hit five home runs and drove in 13 runs in a doubleheader against the Braves in Atlanta.
Back problems impacted the rest of Colbert’s playing career. The Padres traded him to the Tigers before the 1975 season and in June of that year the Expos bought out his contract after he hit just .147 with four home runs in 156 at-bats. He didn’t fare much better in Montreal, where he hit .173 with four home runs in 81 at-bats before being released.
In the middle of the 1976 season, Colbert signed with the A’s, but played only two games for Oakland, which would end up being the last two games of his career.
All told, Colbert had an impressive major league career despite injuries. He retired with a .772 OPS (119 OPS +) and 173 home runs in 10 seasons, and was inducted into the Padres Hall of Fame in 1999.