On Thursday morning, Padres chairman Peter Seidler gave a statement of the demise of all-star Nate Colbert, although he did not mention the cause of his death. Nate Colbert, the all-time home run leader in San Diego Padres history, died at 76. Nate Colbert, a renowned slugger who played for the Padres’ first-ever squad in 1969 and is widely regarded as the team’s first real star player
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) January 6, 2023
In his statement, Padres chairman Peter Seidler said
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Padres Hall of Famer Nate Colbert. Our hearts go out to his wife, Kasey, and the entire Colbert family at this very difficult time. An original member of the Padres in 1969, Nate was a trailblazer in the San Diego sports community. He was a three-time National League All-Star in brown and gold and became the Padres all-time home run king (163), a record that still stands today. Nate was also devoted to his community off the field, dedicating his time to disadvantaged youth through his ministry. He was a magnetic person who will be dearly missed.”
Nate Colbert was born on April 9, 1946. He graduated from Sumner High School, just north of Sportsman’s Park. As luck would have it, 8-year-old Colbert was present in 1954 to see Musial accomplish his accomplishment. He created his piece of history eighteen years later by matching Musial’s tally of home runs on a day when he had infamously struggled with back problems and wasn’t sure he’d be fit enough to play.
Nate Colbert’s brilliance at the plate would be perfectly captured that day. From 1969 to 1973, Colbert averaged 30 home runs a season with the Padres, even though the team played its home games at the roomy San Diego Stadium. He was a fearsome power hitter who frequently unleashed titanic rockets.
Nate Colbert last played for the Padres in 1974 and died as the club’s all-time HR leader. What a legend.
— Darren Smith (@DSmithShow) January 6, 2023
Nate Colbert, a native of St. Louis, made his major league debut with the Astros in 1966 and later played briefly for Houston in 1968. In the 1968 expansion selection, San Diego selected the first baseman with the 18th overall pick, and he became one of the Padres’ top performers in their early years.
Nate Colbert is the most famous baseball legend for having one of the most fantastic single at-bat days in the sport’s history. Nate Colbert and Stan Musial shared the record for the most home runs in a day on August 1, 1972, in Atlanta. Since then, this is the first time anyone has been able to top that feat. He had 22 total bases, one more than Stan Musial’s record of 21, set in 1954, and drove in 13 runs throughout those two games, also a record for a single day.
Nate Colbert's 5-HR, 13-RBI doubleheader in 1972 will forever be seared into my memory thanks to Topps
— Eric Stephen (@ericstephen) January 6, 2023
In San Diego, Colbert established himself as the team’s starting first baseman while also filling in on occasion in left field, and his career took off. In his six seasons, he batted.253/.331/.469, was chosen for an All-Star game three times and had five straight seasons with at least 20 home runs.
Nate Colbert’s playing career was hindered for the remainder by back issues. Before the 1975 campaign, the Padres dealt him to the Tigers, and in June of that year, the Expos acquired his contract from Detroit after he managed just a.147 batting average with four home runs in 156 at-bats.
His performance in Montreal could have been better; he hit.182 with six home runs in 121 at-bats before being dismissed midway through the 1976 campaign. Nate Colbert next signed a contract with the A’s, but his time with Oakland would only last for two games, marking the end of his career.
Colbert’s career was cut short due to injuries, but he still finished with a.772 OPS (119 OPS+) and 173 home runs over ten seasons. Along with illustrious left-hander Randy Jones and previous owner Ray Kroc, he was a member of the first class to be inducted into the Padres Hall of Fame in 1999.