When we speak of the many underrated and forgotten MLBbros whose talents have graced the diamond and contributed to making MLB the worldwide attraction it is today, San Diego Padres legend Nate Colbert, who passed away at the age of 76, is one of those under celebrated success stories that contributed to baseball shedding its dubious reputation as a racially exclusive sport.
Who Is MLBbro Nate Colbert?
Colbert was a first baseman and leftfielder who made three All-Star teams in a career that spanned a decade (1966-1976). The 6-foot-2, 205-pound wood-wielder with a smile that could light up San Diego Stadium, enjoyed most of his success with the Padres. From 1969-73 he was one of the most feared power hitters in the game before succumbing to injuries and retiring in 1976, playing in just 99 games the last two seasons of his career.
The team shared a picture of Colbert on Thursday night, saying “The Padres are deeply saddened by the passing of Padres Hall of Famer Nate Colbert.”
The Padres are deeply saddened by the passing of Padres Hall of Famer Nate Colbert. pic.twitter.com/MSjyS6gofz
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) January 6, 2023
Colbert broke into the big leagues in 1966 with the Houston Astros, returned to the Astros in 1968, then was drafted by San Diego in the expansion draft.
Colbert’s breakout season came in 1969, when he smashed 24 homers for the expansion franchise. He took off from there, blasting 38 homers in 1970, 27 in 1971, another 38 bro bombs in 1972 and then 22 more in 1973. The MLBbro slugger made three consecutive All-Star games in a golden era for Black baseball players that lasted into the 80s.
Nate Colbert Hits 5 Home Runs In Double Header
Colbert’s signature MLB moment is when he hit five home runs during a 1972 doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves, a feat that he shares with the great Stan Musial and hasn’t been accomplished since. He finished this season with his only 100-RBI campaign (111) and finished 8th in the MVP voting.
Stan Musial and Nate Colbert are the only two players in Major League Baseball history to hit five home runs on one day, both accomplishing the feat during a doubleheader.
Colbert, who grew up in St. Louis, was in attendance for Musial's five-homer day pic.twitter.com/RdYAzqgjjl
— Baseball Quotes (@BaseballQuotes1) January 6, 2023
Colbert was traded from the Padres to the Detroit Tigers following the 1974 season and he later played for the Montreal Expos and Oakland Athletics.
While Colbert’s name might not ring bells throughout MLB, his s 163 home runs with San Diego remains a franchise record, something that team chairman Peter Seidler mentioned in his tribute to Colbert, which the team posted to Twitter.
“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 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.”
MLB Family Remembers Padres Legend Nate Colbert
Others throughout the baseball universe have paid tribute to Colbert, as well.
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's 5-HR, 13-RBI doubleheader in 1972 will forever be seared into my memory thanks to Topps
— Eric Stephen (@ericstephen) January 6, 2023
Night Owl Cards also paid tribute, tweeting a pair of his cards and saying, “Farewell, Nate Colbert, one of the greatest smiles on baseball cards. #RIP,”
“RIP Nate Colbert. San Diego Padres LEGEND,” Devine Sports Gospel tweeted.
Baseball fans remember great baseball moments. There are some players who for one reason or another — injury, unfavorable historical reference, underrated careers, association with bad teams — don’t get the shine that they deserve. For a five-year span, MLBbro Nate Colbert did enough to warrant himself the distinction of being a San Diego Padres legend. These are the players and the legacies that we preserve here at MLBbro.com.
Rest In Power MLBbro Nate Colbert