Nate Colbert, the all-time home run leader in San Diego Padres history, died at age 76, the team announced Thursday night.
"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Padres Hall of Famer Nate Colbert," team chairman Peter Seidler said in a statement. "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. ... Nate was devoted to his community off the field as well, dedicating his time to disadvantaged youth through his ministry. He was a magnetic person who will be dearly missed."
Colbert, a St. Louis native, broke into the majors with the Astros in 1966 and also briefly played for Houston in 1968.
The first baseman was selected by San Diego with the 18th pick in the 1968 expansion draft and went on to become one of the Padres' best players in their early years.
Colbert hit at least 22 homers in each of his first five seasons in San Diego, including 38 in both 1970 and 1972. He also had a career-high 111 RBIs in 1972, the middle year of a stretch of three consecutive seasons in which he made the National League All-Star team.
Colbert socked 163 homers in a Padres uniform, which still tops the team's all-time list ahead of Adrian Gonzalez (161), Phil Nevin (156), Dave Winfield (154) and Tony Gwynn (135).
On Aug. 1, 1972, Colbert hit five homers and drove in 13 runs as the visiting Padres swept a doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves. The homer and RBI totals are still tied for the most in a doubleheader in baseball history.
He closed his career by playing for the Detroit Tigers (1975), the Montreal Expos (1975-76) and the Oakland Athletics (1976).
In 1,004 career games, Colbert batted .243 with a .322 on-base percentage, a .451 slugging percentage, 173 home runs and 520 RBIs.
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