The Tucson Padres of Tucson, Arizona, played three seasons in the Pacific Coast League. Through their short existence, they served as the Triple-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres. The T-Pads were born following the 2010 season, when the Portland Beavers were put up for sale, due to their ballpark being reconfigured to solely accommodate Major League Soccer’s Portland Timbers. The Beavers had been affiliated with the Padres since their rebirth in 2001, and when they went up for sale, they were purchased by Padres’ principal owner, Jeff Moorad. Moorad’s aim was to move the Beavers to Escondido, California, in the San Diego suburbs, where they would be the Padres’ backyard Triple-A team. Until the Escondido stadium could be built, the team was temporarily housed in Tucson, Arizona, where previous PCL teams (the Sidewinders and Toros) had since vacated.
As is common with place-holder teams, the team was given a COTOB identity and spartan branding materials. Admirably, the Tucson Padres displayed some simple and creative flair within their limited parameters. They made liberal use of San Diego’s beloved defunct aesthetic, including the Swinging Friar logo for a primary cap and seventies/eighties-style font for their uniforms and primary logo. Their primary logo also featured an Arizona desert motif with a prominent saguaro cactus.
Since they only played three seasons, there isn’t too much to report on the baseball side. A handful of productive players came through the ranks, with Anthony Rizzo being the most notable name. Others include Yasmani Grandal, Logan Forsythe, Everth Cabrera, and Miles Mikolas. Attendance in Tucson was low, as can be predicted when everyone knows that the team is temporary and is an affiliate of a division rival of the local MLB club.
The best laid plans for Escondido fell apart, and a stadium deal was never reached. The Tucson Padres franchise was sold to an ownership group who moved the team to El Paso, Texas, where they now play as the El Paso Chihuahuas.