Garvey still was a player in 1986 when the team was put for sale by Joan Kroc, the widow of McDonald's founder Ray Kroc, who had purchased the club in 1974.
Garvey said he reached out to Trump as part of his efforts to see if he could put together a group to buy the franchise.
Garvey met with Trump, an East Coast businessman who had concerns about owning a team out West.
"He wondered if he could take the franchise and move it back East, because he really wasn't on the West Coast at that time," Garvey said of his meeting with Trump. "He said, 'Gosh, if I had been out there already, it would be a great complement.'"
The discussions came around the time that the United States Football League ceased operations after three seasons. Trump was the owner of the New Jersey Generals.
Garvey said Trump told him he didn't want the Padres to be his first investment in the state of California.
"It would have been interesting," Garvey said. "To be a Major League owner and have a presence on the West Coast would have been a great foundation for him out here."