Last night, while watching the Padres get annihilated by the Nationals, I got a few Twitter updates of the passing of former Padre Ollie Brown. I'm about to go on a run of mostly-Gwynn related posts, but anyone who's been a Padre fan for more than a few years (or who collects as-vintage-as-they-get Padre cards) will have love for Ollie.
As many may know, the San Diego Padres existed as a team in the Pacific Coast League since 1936. When given the chance to bring a Major League team to San Diego, it was also named the Padres. During the Expansion Draft of 1968, the Padres had the first pick, and they actually didn't screw it up (don't get me started on recent Padres draft busts). After parts of four seasons with the Giants, the Padres took him with the first overall pick, and he became the first Padre.
I have three Ollie Brown cards, two shown here. I have team sets of the '69 and '71 Topps Padres, but I'm too lazy to go snap a picture of the '71 card. Like many of the Padres, Brown had his cap blacked out in the '69 set, since they didn't yet have any available pictures of them in Padres uniforms.
My easy favorite, though, is this Kellogg's 3D card from 1970. Those are the best oddballs of all time.
Can't say that I really know a whole lot about Ollie, other than what's on his Wikipedia page: His nickname was "Downtown" Brown (he hit 20 homers for the Padres in their inaugural season, and hit his career high the following year with 23, though he would fail to top 9 any subsequent year), and his brothers were also professional athletes - Oscar with the Atlanta Braves, and Willie with the Rams and Eagles of the NFL.
While not necessarily the most noteworthy choice of the Padres in the Expansion Draft (that might be franchise home run record holder Nate Colbert or future World Series champion manager Cito Gaston), sometimes it's a big deal to be the first.