We’ll never forget you, Mr. Padre

The San Diego Padres and baseball fans everywhere mourn the passing on Monday of Tony Gwynn at age 54. We invite you to share your memories and condolences below in the comments of this guestbook.

Tony was a friend to so many and simply one of the greatest hitters who ever lived. He spent all 20 of his Major League seasons with the Padres and went into the Hall of Fame with 3,141 hits, a .338 career average and eight National League batting titles. In recent years, he served as a part-time analyst on Padres telecasts.

Tony Gwynn“The San Diego Padres are deeply saddened by the news today of the passing of Tony Gwynn,” the club said in a statement. “There are no words to express what Tony means to this organization and this community. More than just Mr. Padre, Tony was Mr. San Diego. He cared deeply about our city and had a profound impact on our community. He forever will be remembered not only for his tremendous on-field accomplishments, but also for his infectious laugh, warm, outgoing personality and huge heart. On behalf of Padres fans everywhere, we mourn the loss of a friend, a teammate and a legend. We send our heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the entire Gwynn family, including his wife, Alicia, his children, Tony Jr. and Anisha, and his grandchildren.”

“Major League Baseball today mourns the tragic loss of Tony Gwynn, the greatest Padre ever and one of the most accomplished hitters that our game has ever known, whose all-around excellence on the field was surpassed by his exuberant personality and genial disposition in life,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “Tony was synonymous with San Diego Padres baseball, and with his .338 career batting average and eight batting titles, he led his beloved ballclub to its greatest heights, including two National League pennants.”

76 Comments

Being the same age as Tony, having gone to SDSU, and watched him probably twenty games a year through the first twelve years of his career at the Murph, before I left for Washington State, I miss him. Great guy. I remember taking my toddler son to the ballpark on a Sunday when he hit two home runs. We had to leave early because my son was too restless, but we got to see the home runs!. Thanks for the memories!

I saw a poster one day with the caption “Blue Print of a Hitter”. It was a picture of Tony Gwynn that had dimensions for his head, shoulders, hands, bat, hips, legs, and feet. He was the best at his craft. He was the perfect hitter. I have always been a TG fan since he came into the league. Best of all he loved San Diego. He was a great player and a great person. We’ll all miss him dearly.

I first started working the Padres’ game in the summer of 1977 as what people used to call us “ushers”. Now I am a Guest Service Representative for the Padres, but loosely you can call us ushers. Little did I know that five years late a young and budding star named Tony Gwynn would enter the big leagues, never to return to the minors. I will never forget seeing Tony delivered the biggest hit against the Cubs (outside of Steve Garvey’s homerun the night before) in the fifth game of the 1984 NLCS: a two-run double (he went to third on the throw home) that put the Padres ahead, 5-3 at that time. He just smoked that ball past Ryne Sandberg.

I’ve watched Tony play over 1,000 games when I was working at the stadium. He never failed to amaze anyone. After he retired, he was a warm and very friendly fellow in the pressbox area. I am so glad that I got to see Tony many times before he went on TV. San Diego has suffered a huge loss. And it will all culminate in the Tony Gwynn Memorial Service, or should we say, “a celebration of his wondeful life”.

RIP, Tony. I know you and Ted Williams are now talking about hitting, with Jerry Coleman interviewing you both. We’re all proud of you.

While we are all feeling such crushing sadness over the loss of Tony, it is heartwarming to read all of the wonderful thoughts and experiences that so many people have shared in the comments above, as well as other sites I have read.

I was fortunate to first get to know Tony back in the winter of ’84 when I was a junior in high school. That offseason he started coming down to the SD School of Baseball, where I worked at the time, to work out in our cages. He had a special knack of making me feel like a peer, even though I was just a high school baseball player. And the opportunity for me to get to talk hitting with him, or just shoot the bull about whatever, was so enjoyable. As I finished high school and went away to play college ball, I still had several chances during those years to spend a little time with him. I remember when he came up to my college ballpark to film his instructional video in the spring of ’90. We had some spare time those couple days, and I hung out in the dugout, again just talking baseball with Tony during their downtime. It really seemed that, no matter who you were, he really enjoyed sharing his thoughts about the game and always was willing to draw you in. Few superstars have that ability, or desire really, to spend that kind of time, especially when they have demands on their time that they do. But he was different.

After I eventually moved away from San Diego 20 years ago, my chances to see Tony grew fewer and farther between, but when I did get those moments, he still always smiled, and said, in that familiar voice, “Hey Ty, what’s happenin?” No matter how much time had passed, he always remembered me and made me feel like a friend. Even last year, when I spoke to him for the last time during his team’s trip up here to play Fresno State, it was the same. Sure, the ravages of his illness were obvious, and his voice didn’t have the same bubbliness I had grown accustomed to. But when he came out of the dugout and walked over to me, I still got the same greeting. Catching up with him for what was the first time in a few years, I still felt like an old friend; he never lost that gift of making you feel like a colleague.

One last tidbit (and, believe me, I could go on an on with stories about him) – when my father passed away in 1997, we had a couple charity golf tournaments in my Dad’s memory. And Tony took time out of his schedule to come out and play in the tourneys, and sign items that we could auction off for the charity. It really meant a lot to me that he did that. I know I thanked him profusely for being there, but I can’t really state enough how grateful I was. It was immeasureable. I have been filled with such emotion the last few days since Tony’s passing, as it brings back so many memories that, at times, have been overwhelming. The last conversation I had with my father before he died was actually about Tony closing in on 3000 hits. So, naturally, all of this brings up a lot that relates back to my Dad as well. And, when you get down to it, I think that’s what Tony felt like to a lot of us . . . he was family. He was part of our San Diego family, our Padre family, our baseball family. And for those of us who were lucky enough to get to know him on some personal level, it was even more than that.

He truly will be missed by all of us, and my thoughts are with Alicia, Anthony & Anisha, his grandkids and the rest of his family. It may be cliche, but he really was one of a kind. He gave all of us so much joy and the world really is a little emptier without him.

Thank you. Tony for an important lesson. I’d been a fan for a long time and season ticket holder when a friend called me at work one day and said I HAD to be at the stadium that afternoon because TG and Ted L were doing an autograph session. I arrived at the stadium without any of the usual stuff to sign, so I dug around in my purse and came up with a small tablet with Betty Boop (my nick namesake) on it. When it came my turn in line, I asked if the tablet would be OK and if I could get a signature for 2 grandsons who also were TG fans. I told him that I would frame them with other TG memorabilia that I had at home and give them to the kids for Xmas. Tony looked at me funny and I thought “Oh Boy, I’ve really screwed up here”. so I told him I would run out to the gift shop and see if they had something more appropriate to sign. He laughed and said :NO” don’t do that, “I like what you want to do. Most folks would take it to a professional framing co., and you want to do this yourself. But let me tell you what I have to think about.” … and he proceeded to tell me how athletes or celebrities have to be very careful what they sign because there are so many groups out there trying to rip them off. It had never occurred to me that anyone had such ulterior motives. So he did sign and I took my 2 signatures home and got my Xmas gifts ready. A few weeks later, the newspaper announced in Escondido and San Diego a sting on groups that were selling fraudulent athlete memorabilia and how they were cracking down on these groups. I knew immediately that this was what Tony was talking about and that he already knew about it.
I know that Tony was a great player, Dad, & person…but this time he gave me gave me more than the autograph…He also gave me an insider’s viewpoint of this autograph signing ritual. Thank you again, Tony…You will always be loved.

Hats off to Tony Gwynn.
your loyalty to your padres won me over as a fan.
Texas fans will never forget you.

Tony was Mr. Padre as he stayed there his entire career which is rare. I live in Canada just north of Toronto but had an uncle in San Diego and fell in love with the team when I was eight years old. I followed the Padres when Dave Winfield was Mr. Padre until he left. But as a Padre fan the best was cheering the team when they faced the Tigers and again a few years later. As a fan of any team you latch onto to a player(s) who you feel are the best players and for so many years it was a treat to watch the magic Tony displayed with the bat. Watching him get that 3,000 hit against Montreal and seeing him speak at the Hall of Fame induction was the finishing touch of a great career. As kids you always copy what your heroes do and one of these habits was trying chewing tobacco not realizing the dangers. It was a deep sadness to hear that the cancer he had been fighting finally took his life. Us Padre fans will always remember those championships and the players who played throughout the years with the team but most of all we’ll never forget the player Tony was on and off the field. May God comfort Tony’s family at this time.

Greig Young- Muskoka, Canada

I was a huge fan of Tony Gwynn growing up, I lived in LA so when they played the Dodgers we’d often see him play at Dodger stadium. He was an amazing baseball player even off the field he was a great person! I was saddened to hear of his passing, i continue to pray for his family, friends and fans! 😦

I met Mr. Gwynn for the first time at The Murph, when I was a little leaguer. The Padres were doing a meet the team event and we could walk down the line and get autographs from the players. I remember being awestruck from being face to face with my idol. Growing up and playing baseball, I knew he was the player I wanted to be most like because I couldn’t quite reach the fences but I new if I could control where I put the ball, I would be effective. So I watched many of Tony’s instructional videos and copied his techniques as well as I could. Even though I didn’t have the amazing eye for the ball coming from the pitcher’s hand, I still became a better player. Most of all, I became a better teammate and person. Tony wasn’t the type that followed the money, he loved San Diego just as much as I did and that meant more to me than the 2 world series appearances, 3141 hits, and many more unbelievable stats. After I moved to Tucson, I met Tony one last time when his Aztecs came to play the Wildcats back in 2008. I shook his hand and said thank you after the game was over. He gave a smile without saying anything and walked out of the stadium after signing a HOF baseball for me. I remember feeling awestruck, exactly the same way I did when I was a kid meeting him for the first time. I still have both baseballs he signed and they will remind me of the impact he had on my childhood, the city of San Diego and how he helped shape who I am today. Mr. Gwynn, I am forever thankful! You will be missed by many and forgotten by none.

Oh Doctor! You can hang a star on that baby!

It was probably around 1990 or so, I was at work at a private country club where Tonys’ agent was a member. I was a huge Tony Gwynn fan as was my little league aged son, who always wanted to wear #19 and copy everything Tony would do.
I was so nuts about his records that even though the team was pretty poor at that time
I would always check the box score to see how many hits Tony would get, sometimes not even checking to see who won the game. Knowing that Tony agent was a member, I hoped some day he would bring Tony to play a round of golf. So I had a Gywnn baseball card which I kept there for him to sign if ever he did come to play. Well it was a rainy weekday morning, off season, course closed, early. No one around, except all by himself, Tony hitting putts on the putting green. Perfect !!!
I grabbed the card and went out to hopefully get him to sign it, without disturbing him too much. Well to my amazement Tony not only was happy to sign, but we talked for what seemed to be 10 mins or so. We talked about our families, his son and daughter are pretty much the same age as mine. We talked about baseball, his acomplishments and how my son was doing. It was incredible how nice he was to me, down to earth, laughing, smiling, what a wonderful guy. I will never forget that 10 min conversation with a superstar. A superstar in Baseball but more importantly a superstar in life!!!!!!!!

Tony Gwynn was perhaps the most approachable superstar that I have ever witnessed. I attended a game at Wrigley Field in 1991 and I remember Tony signing autographs for over 20 minutes after a big loss. He sounded just like he did on TV and was nice to both Padres and Cubs fans. In our time of spoiled superstars, Gwynn was perhaps the most humble. R.I.P. Tony.

Anyone that knows me, knows that I love the San Diego Padres and have since 1984. The reason I picked the Padres was because I was a Chargers fan first and when it came to pick a MLB team I thought I might as well stay in the same city (now keep in mind that I have lived in West Virginia all 37 years I’ve been on this rock). The Padres had a young player named Tony Gwynn that I started to follow and did for the next 17 years. My story about Tony Gwynn comes from 1989, I made my first trip to California with my mom and we ended our week in San Diego. School had already been in for a week and there was no one at the game (they were playing the Braves). The “give away” that night was a Padres 3-ring binder and by the 7th inning we (me/mom/Aunt Judy) had weasled our way down to sit in the front row on top of the Padres dugout. I still cringe when I think about doing this, but I wanted Gwynn’s autograph so bad that I tossed my binder on the field in front of him as he came in from RF….DURING THE GAME (bush league, I know). I shouted, “Mr. Gwynn can I get your autograph”. He wasn’t mean about it (he had every right to be) and simply picked it up and handed it to me and said, “not during the game”. I didn’t get the autograph (I have several items now), but it does have Tony Gwynn signed on the inside cover in a 7th graders cursive handwriting…lol. Sad to see him go, and specially at such a young age. I also got to see him hit the final HR of his career in 2001 at PNC Park vs the Pirates (I have always thought that was pretty cool conisdering he only hit 135 in a 20 yar career).

Most of us in north county have a Tony Gwynn story. Wether it was running into him at the grocery store, restaurant or just out & about town. I have two TG stories, both short but sweet. 1- I was driving, at the stop light at Highland Ranch Road and Ted Williams Parkway (fitting) waiting to turn left towards Poway (I imagine he was going home). I look over as I wait for the light and see that green Mercedes that Tony always drove. I had the window down already and so did he. I smiled and said “Hi Tony!”, he responded w/ “hey there” or something to that affect. I jokingly then said, “Wanna race? Lets go!” (I was driving a 2001 Mustang). He smiled and said, “Sure”. So I get ready to go b/c I’m thinking “its on”. As soon as the light turns green, I punched it and jumped out of the turn. I looked over and I see Tony behind me, not engaging in a race and just laughing to himself. I could see the smile clearly, he thought it was hilarious, he got me, he got me good- you win again Mr. Gwynn. No. 2 – I brought my son tot he 2010 friar fest. We were out at the 5.5 hole taking a picture when my 18 month old son flopped out of my arms and nearly fell to the dirt before I could grab him. He was fine, just scared. A Padre employee walked up and asked if we were OK. I said, “I think so, he’s just shaken up”. He said, “here, why dont you and your son go see Tony Gwynn at his signing session” and proceeded to hand us two tickets. My son feel asleep during the wait but when we finally go up there to see Mr. Padre, I realized I had nothing for him to sign aside form what they give you (which is a little card w. a padre logo), so I improvised and removed my sons 18 month old shoe from his right foot and said, “Hi Tony, would you sign my son’s shoe?” He laughed so loud everyone in the line started laughing and looked over as we had the exchange. I shook his hand and told him it was an honor and he replied, “thank you”.

No, thank YOU Mr. Tony Gwynn, Thank YOU.

I will always remember going down to Petco Park to watch Tony Gwynn being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. I was a big fan of Tony’s, and it’s just SO hard to accept the fact that he’s gone. I will always remember you, Tony. God rest your soul.

My father passed when I was 8, so I had to find the Padres on my. I eventually did in 1981 when I was 12, when fell completely in love with the Friars and the game of baseball. There was no one to take me to games, so I spent many many many long nights listening to Jerry Coleman, Dave Campbell, Ted Leitner and Bob Chandler on the radio. Back then the Padres had never won anything and it wasn’t very cool to be fan, but I didn’t care. The Padres were my team for life. Winning the division in 84 was a bolt out of the sky. Nobody, I mean NOBODY around the country gave the Pads any hope of beating Chicago. I ditched school to watch the first game, and padres got spanked 13-0. I’ll never forget night the Padres came home from Chicago down 0-2. The diehard fans held a rally as the team bus got to the stadium, and I really something special was born that night. The Garvey home run and the pennant was so sweet. Tony wasn’t the biggest name on that team at the time. But the bigger names were from other places, and as much as I loved Garvey, Nettles and Gossage, there was something homegrown and special about Tony. Like probably everyone in San Diego Tony became my favorite player from that year on. He was just so perfect in the number 2 slot in those years. It was almost like some mad scientist had set out to create the perfect 2-hole player, and out came. Speed, contact, crazy baseball IQ, he was just so fun to watch. After 1984 there so many lea years. The one bright spot between 84 and 96 was Tony. You knew the sky was blue, you knew grass was green, and you knew Tony was going to hit over 300 and chase the batting title. He never disappointed. Ever. I was happy for Tony more than anyone when the Padres won again in 96 and 98. People forget about 96 because we didn’t make it to the series, but that was the most exciting regular season the pads ever had. What a fun team. When Tony retired I just remembered feeling so lost. I just imagine the Padres, or baseball, without Tony Gwynn. You truly don’t know what you have until. Like so many people I was stunned and crushed to hear that Tony had passed. With it happening so soon after Jerry’s passing, it felt as though the curtain had been drawn on an era, and half of my childhood was gone. I have never met him, but the incredible memories he gave me as a fan will last me for the rest of my life. My wife had the privilege of meeting him at his house, doing his makeup for a charity event (of course). Both he and Alicia were unbelievably gracious. Both very giving of their time and energy. He was already dealing with health issues, but he was more than willing to take a pic with my wife and sign my poster of the 84 team she had brought along. As I read all of the comments and listen to all of the interviews and watch all of the video in the wake of Tony leaving us, there are a lot of tears, but there is also a tremendous amount of pride in my hometown. There is a lot of pain in being a San Diego sports fan. The disappointments have been many and the championships have been few (well, none actually. Sigh). For the first time in a long time I’m OK with that though, because we have something no other city has. We have Tony. God bless you T. God bless your family. Say hi to Jerry.

I am a native San Diegan-not a big sorts fan –but I LOVED Tony Gwynn. We both lived in Poway CA. I worked at Sav on Drugs and I remember he & his family coming in to my store. I never asked for an autograph but always told him I was his biggest fan. He always replied with his thousand watt smile. Now THAT was a Man and a role-model. He will surely be missed ,now I have to go cry some more!!!

RIP Senor Padre!

It’s too bad Tony Gwynn never won a World Series with the Padres. I think the best way to honor him besides the #19 patch, the team should just wear both the 1980’s to 1990’s uniforms (brown/orange to navy/orange when Gwynn played) for the rest of the season. And at the end of the season, see how the team fared with both and if they fared better in one set, use that one for next season and beyond with some slight modifications.

Tony was simply the best, at everything he put his hand and mind to. What a double whammy for San Diego to lose Tony AND Jerry Coleman in the same year. I grew up in Ocean Beach, and the Padres have ALWAYS been my team, through good times and bad, for over 50 years. I’ve still got splinters in my butt from the bleachers in old Lane Field. I’ve watched and listened to MLB for all that time, and, to my mind, he was not only the best ballplayer of all time, he was the best citizen of his beloved home city. He (and Cal Ripken) were the last of the oldtime ballplayers, who stuck with one team throughout a glorious career, putting aside all other considerations. Anyone of any age can do extraordinarily well to take Tony as a role model. Mere words fail me in describing the superlative effect Tony had on my life, as he did on all those fortunate enough to have come into contact with him, at whatever distance. God bless you Tony. Thank you. My sincerest condolences to your loving family. You’re ONE of a kind. Petco should rename the stadium Tony Gwynn Field at Petco Park.

They say that athletes aren’t to be looked up to as heroes. Tony Gwynn was mine. For 20 years, he was the one constant bright star on a team that more often than not played bad baseball. While stationed in Georgia and Europe, Tony was my link back to San Diego. Tony taught me loyalty and hard work (23 years Army service). He wasn’t the so called “celebrity” that was conceited or always be in trouble, or in the news for doing the wrong thing. Tony was the one that not only I looked up to, but a lot of kids in San Diego looked up to. He was the hardest working person other than my step dad that I knew. And he always took the time for kids or to just say hi. My dad and I always used to talk about how he was one person who did things the right way. I knew Tony Gwynn before I knew my first love-now my wife. I went to my first San Diego Padres game in 1984 (a 3-2 Padres victory over the Giants-YESSSS!!!!) and the first person I met, even though we got there late (like 20 minutes before first pitch) was none other than Tony. I had the chance to meet him and I got to thank him for not leaving the Padres. He just gave me the laugh, being Tony and said to me “Man, I’m not going anywhere!” He then signed my jersey for me back in 1996 that I still have. When I watch all the tribute videos and things, I see a lot of the games I was at when he made such great plays or got timely hits (I saw him break up a no-no vs the Reds in SD-everyone else was cheering for the no-no and my dad and I said “Ol’ Tony will break it up!!!!” Sure enough he did. That was Tony in a nutshell on the field. Driving pitchers crazy!!!!! Then you have the stories of Boomer Wells dropping F Bombs after Tony hit the game 1 homer off him. Yes I can still hear Tony laugh telling that one. Tony is even the 19 in my email address. Thanks for the laugh you just gave me when I recalled that game.Thanks for the loyalty and a whole lot of memories Tony. Thanks for having class when a lot of people don’t. Rest in peace Mr. Padre. I love you and miss you Tony! Even the Friar is crying.

GO PADRES!!!!

I was at “The Happiest Place on Earth” when I heard the news about Tony Gwynn. How ironic because it catapulted my emotions into feeling like I occupied “The Saddest Place on Earth”. Even though I knew he was fighting cancer, I didn’t know how bad things were so I was shocked to hear that he had died. What Tony could teach other players about hitting is documented and has been studied for years. What Tony could teach other players about “class” is immeasurable. The most fitting tribute I can give to Tony is that it didn’t matter that he was a Padre, he is being eulogized today from fans of ALL teams! Who else would that happen for? Nobody. There will never be another like him. We were lucky to have him in San Diego. Thank you, Mr. Padre! No more pain in heaven…

Words can not express how saddened I am with the passing of my idol, Tony Gwynn. He was not just Mr. Padre, he was Mr. San Diego. In the history of San Diego, there was no one more loved and with good reason…he treated EVERYONE with respect and dignity. In baseball, he was a superstar and Hall of Famer, and in life, he was the rare friend anyone could only hope to have…a true blue, genuine human being, who loved to laugh and make others feel good. In 1978, he moved south to San Diego to attend San Diego State on a basketball scholarship where he was a 2-Star athlete in hoops and baseball for the Aztecs. He would never leave. He graduated as the all-time leader in assists at San Diego State (for hoops…and still is today!) but chose baseball as his passion and career. In June of 1981, he was drafted by the San Diego Padres and Clippers on the same day and within two years he was playing for the Padres and batting .300 year after year after year! Personally, I am devastated-he was my idol in baseball growing up in Long Island NY, and I could not wait each year until the schedule came out so I could see when Tony and the Padres would be coming to Shea Stadium to take on the Mets. Just thinking of the flood of memories…beginning with reading Long Island Newsday and seeing Gwynn in the Sunday Paper atop the National League Batting Leaders. He seldom seemed to fall below the top line winning 8 batting titles (more than any other player in history with the exception of Ty Cobb), to go along with 5 Gold Gloves. In my lifetime, I never saw a better hitter… a .338 lifetime batter…something we may never see again. He was the purest hitter in the last 60 years of baseball! He was a self- made hitter and fielder, and his recipe for success was hard work! So many great memories of going to Shea Stadium when the Padres were in town to see #19 swing the bat (I think I was the only Padres fan in NY during those years) watching him have amazing success against the Mets’ talented pitching staff of the likes of Darling, Gooden, Fernandez and others…then moving to California and seeing him hit at Jack Murphy Stadium…and bringing my boys to watch him play towards the end of his career. I was in 10th Grade when he first came up with the Padres and I had 3 sons and was 35 when he retired in 2001. He hit .300 (19) straight years and was the team’s best hitter, even at age 41…the year he retired. My favorite hit was when he lined that frozen rope past Ryne Sandberg in the NLCS in 1984 to send the Padres to their first World Series vs. the Tigers. I was a Freshman at State University of New York at Oneonta (just up the road from Cooperstown-where I would fly from California to see #19 get inducted into the HOF 23 years later), and when Tony delivered that hit to break open the deciding Game 5, which I watched on a 12 inch black and white television in my college dorm room in the mountains of upstate New York (we got one station in 1984 as cable had not yet hit the rural areas and thankfully it was ABC that happened to be covering the NLCS), I erupted in joy running around the dorm saying “The Padres are going to the World Series!” Tony was loyal to the Padres and the fans of San Diego, an uncommon man who repeatedly turned down free agency opportunities and big money to play for his beloved home town Padres and the fans of San Diego. To San Diego and its fans, that will always mean everything! When he retired from MLB in 2001, I remember his speech when he said, “My brother has been a school teacher for 20+ years, and now it’s my turn to teach…noting that he will become the next San Diego State baseball coach.” Since 2002, he has served as the Head Baseball Coach of his alma mater-the San Diego State Aztecs. His enthusiasm for teaching and coaching never wavered right up to his final days as he battled cancer to the finish, just like he tenaciously battled pitchers in every major league at-bat. Seeing Tony get inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown with my three sons was a wonderful memory that I will cherish forever. The boys and I were also there to see his #19 retired by the Padres in 2004. We wouldn’t have missed it for the world! In 2006 and 2007, Tony invited my two oldest sons’ Poway National Little League team (I was the Manager) to see a game at San Diego State and let my team run onto the field with his Aztecs Players when they took the field and stand with them during the National Anthem. What a memory that was! I can remember standing with Tony for our national anthem and afterwards him thanking me for coming out to watch the Aztecs and asking for my guys to cheer loud for his guys. I said, “Don’t worry, you’ll hear them!”…which made Tony break out in his one of a kind laugh! The Aztecs would beat BYU that day snapping a 10 game skid. After the game, Tony had my guys come out with his guys to cover the mound and batter’s box and then invited us come back to the clubhouse where he signed baseballs for each child on my team. He made each one of my players feel like they were the most important guy in the world! A few years ago, after Tony’s HOF Induction my three sons and I went to his Poway home to visit our neighbor to bring him a thank you memento that we had signed for him by fans while in Cooperstown in 2007, when we went to see him get inducted. He thanked us and made us feel like special guests. He was still hitting baseballs when we arrived…and rest assured, no one ever worked harder at their trade than Tony Gwynn, and no one could swing the baseball bat like him! We talked for a while and I remember how proud he was that his son Tony Jr. was just acquired by the Padres and he could now see him play in person on a daily basis! His love for his son (and family) is what I will remember most of our conversation. Tony always made everyone feel special and this day was no exception. It was the last time I saw him in person and I will hold this memory close…being there with Tony and my boys and talking family and baseball! It’s hard to imagine him being gone now…far too soon. My heart and condolences go out to his beloved Alicia, Tony Jr., Anisha, and his grandchildren. May the wonderful memories of your husband, father, and grandfather propel you through the days and years ahead. For Tony it was all about family and baseball and he was a rare gem of a man, seldom found in a lifetime. As we grieve his loss and the incredible void that is left, I will honor him by being a more devoted husband, exemplary father, enthusiastic coach, and kind friend to others, just like my idol, Tony Gwynn. Oh, and also laugh a lot…you know #19 would love that! Thank you Tony…we love you and your family!

Tony was my favorite baseball player and a personal hero. I grew up watching him play and baseball will not be the same without him. He was a Legend on the field, and an icon off it.

I spent the last several days reading articles about Tony. I was happy to see the wide reaching support across the nation for him. Some of the photos and highlights made me cry. How am I ever going to look at one of them again and not be sad? I can’t stop crying when I look at these highlights. And then there is the couple photos of him post-surgery. Heartbreaking? How will I enjoy baseball again without being somewhat sad? Perhaps I should try to live by his example, and treat everyone with respect and courtesy, to always have a smile on my face and laugh contagiously. And more importantly to never take anything for granted.

Mr. Padre. #19. So many things can identify this fantastic human being. He is Padres baseball. He is San Diego’s most beloved athlete. He is my sports hero and will always be. God bless you Tony, my thoughts and prayers to your family. San Diego and the baseball world have suffered a great loss. He was a great human being, who loved his family, and was always friendly to fans and the media. A great ambassador to the game of baseball, as Bud Selig wrote in his statement “a source of universal goodwill” A once in a generation player, who will probably never be seen again. Thanks for teaching me how to love the game of baseball and play it the right way. I will cherish the memories I have of watching you play and meeting you a few times.

Rest in peace. A heartbreaking and devastating loss. We love you and miss you!

p.s. Rename I-15 from Ted Williams Freeway to I-8 the Tony Gwynn Freeway
p.s.s. The Padres should immediately put a #19 on their jersey
p.s.s.s If the City of San Diego has not already declared May 9 to be “Tony Gwynn Day,” it should do so without haste. And, on that day, if the Padres play, all of the players should wear #19.

Padres fans you have my honest condolences. But as a lifelong Mariners fan I must add that this is a loss for all of baseball. We all knew that Tony was a great hitter, but the deeper one digs into his statistics the more improbable it seems. Who plays 20 years in the bigs and retires with a .330 plus average? Who faces Maddox that many times with nary a strikeout? It goes on. He was not just one of the greatest hitters to ever pick up a bat, he was an all-around player. His defense was more than respectable and his generous belly fooled pitchers into thinking that he could not run. Finally, Tony was the greatest ambassador to the game in my lifetime. He made time for everybody and deflected praise and attention even better than he sprayed hits. Thanks for everything Tony, you continue to make major league baseball special, even after passing.

I covered Tony’s HOF induction for MLB.com, was one of the voters who voted him in, and covered his 1998 World Series performance, but I have one specific memory that stands above others personally. In 1997, John Rawlings and I gathered Tony and Stan Musial together at Busch Stadium, before a Padres night game, for a Sporting News cover story. I put my tape recorder on the table and so did John, because we didn’t want to miss anything in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. They started talking about their bats before we could even begin the conversation about hitting, and we told them to just go on talking. It was two of the most beautiful hours of my life, watching two of the greatest hitters in history talk about their craft. “Man to Man” became one of the signature covers in Sporting News history, and you can google the photo. The transcript story was reprinted 5 years ago by SN online at http://www.sportingnews.com/mlb/story/2009-07-10/talking-hitting-stan-musial-and-tony-gwynn, and http://archive.today/wiGsm is a previous post but truncated. I will always think back to that night in St. Louis when 14 batting titles were combined at a round table and Stan would get the biggest kick out of Tony’s responses and vice-versa. Will miss you very much, Mr. Padre.

Mark Newman
MLB.com
(Sporting News, 1992-99, BBWAA ’90-present)

I lived in San Diego up until 1980 when I moved to Orange County for work. Even after the move, every day I’d open up the Orange County Register and the first thing I’d look at was what Tony did at the plate the night before. I was rarely disappointed. He was a great man and a great human being. He should be remembered for being both, but especially for being the type of man he was.

Every professional athlete could learn something from Tony. He played hard, worked hard, and he did it because he loved the game. It didn’t matter how far into his career he was, he would still work on trying to improve on what in many ways appeared to be perfect, but that was not perfect to him. It wasn’t the money, because with the talent he had, he could have made significantly more elsewhere. What made him play even harder than the love for the game is his love for the city. The city loves him just as much, so much that in a sense every Padre fan, and some fans of other teams in their own way adopted him and care enough about him as though he is related to them. I no longer live in San Diego, but because of people like Tony and many memories I have, I still call San Diego my home, even if I pay a mortgage in a different state. Tony is a man that epitomizes sportsmanship, dedication, unconditional commitment, the never say never attitude, and even more, he is as quality of a person as many of us can only imagine being. There will be a movie about him, you can almost guarantee it. The name Tony Gwynn with baseball has been and will be even more significant to baseball as Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, just to name a few. He is in the hall of fame because he was the best, but even more he is in our hearts and fills us with sorrow on his passing because he is a truly wonderful person that has touched many of us in ways he may not realize. I keep saying is because the memories he gave us as a player and a person are etched in permanently and will never fade away. May you rest in peace Tony, your name will be in history books for many to be awe inspired for many generations. The name Tony Gwynn is now synonymous with the very meaning of “A True Legend”.

I first met Tony Gwynn shortly after moving to San Diego from Nottingham England. He was signing autographs in a mall in Escondido. My wife and I and the three boys went to the mall to show the boys what a mall was like. Tony and two other players where there at a table with no one around. We did not know who they where, but the boys wanted to meet them. Tony signed a photo for the boys and spent some time with them. He was very nice to all three boys a spent some time trying to understand the English accent. He seemed to really enjoy the time and I know the boys enjoyed the time with Tony. I was very impressed and taken with Tony and just how nice he was. I have always respected Tony and even more when I found out just who he was. All three of the boys remember the in counter and how much they enjoyed the short time Tony. This happened in 1989, that is the kind of impression Tony left with everyone he met. I was so sorry to hear of his passing and will always remember my short time I got to spend with him.

I do not know if I even have words that can express my sadness and heavy heart at Tony’s passing. I grew up in San Diego and my Dad took us to Padre games since they came to San Diego and I watched Tony throughout his career ( he was only 2 years older than me). I even CALLED the front office when they balked at signing him for one more year (to give credit where due I actually got a call back) and I had sent a very scathing e mail! My heart goes out to his family (I just lost both my Mom & my Dad last month!) so I know the feelings that they are going through right now. God Bless His family and I know my Dad is talking baseball to Mr. Padre right now in heaven!

You don’t always realize when at the time that you could be watching one of those once in a generation type players. Tony Gwynn is one of those. I had the privilege of watching him in San Diego his whole carrer. As I was a younger kid I didn’t realize what a special player Tony was. As I got older and was able to drive to the games and eventually become a partial season ticket holder I really started to understand how we were watching a player make history. I am saddened that my kids can only hear me talk about this great man and the player that he was. I remember my cousin and I were at the “Murph” early watching batting practice and Tony come over to the stands by first base to sign autographs for his fans. There was a little boy who handed Tony a ball to sign. Tony signed it and shook his hand. The boy was in comeplete awe. Tony told him he had to wash he hand still. We all started laughing, but that is who Tony was. When I heard he passed into the pearly gates yesterday, I cried, and a few more times since. I recently moved from the San Diego area. I would be attending his memorial if I was there. Tony is a hero and someone to be looked up to as a person and sports figure. I pray for Tony’s family for comfort for their loss.

In a time when illegal gambling, banned drugs and lack of personal integrity are ‘every day occurrences connected to professional athletes—Tony Gwynn’s professional and personal lives were never tarnished by any of it. Our Tony Gwynn lived a respectible, good and clean life. He LIVED the kind of role-model-life—-any parent would want their child to follow in the footsteps of. His unselfish and unwavering love of the sport and San Diego was undeniable and only compared to his life with Alicia and his kids/family. The Padres Team of the ’80s and the special games of those memorable seasons—he was a huge part of. My sons and I admired him, as did so many millions of fans all over the country did. He was Mr. San Diego and San Diego loved him back. We will FOREVER miss you, Tony Gwynn. Thanks for everything—our hearts are broken.

I’ve been thinking of what the Padres can do to honor Tony Gwynn. I was thinking maybe trade for Tony Gwynn Jr., and sign him to a long-term contract. Tony was the Padres. Signing Jr. would be continuing the lineage. I have a feeling Tony would always want a Gwynn presence with the Padres.

My sophomore son last year began wearing #19 for his high school baseball career and will continue to do so in tribute to a great hitter, ball player, and man. RIP Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn

I had the privilege of meeting Tony Gwynn one random day at the airport in Denver. I had grown up watching him. I learned what small ball was, patience at the plate, and the value of a single or a double (vs. the Homerun hitter who always struck out) from him. What I saw in him was class, commitment, and focus. He was a true great. He elevated Padres baseball in a way that no other ever has or could ever hope to achieve. I loved watching him. I loved sitting in right field so I could cheer him on specifically. I went to his last game and watched him retire. I was there when they installed his statue. I watched his 3,000th hit. When I met him I was shaking. I had rehearsed it in my head so many times in case I ever had the opportunity to meet him. I walked up to him and said “Mr. Gwynn, I want to thank you for all of you’ve done for San Diego, the Padres, and baseball in general. I grew up watching you and you are my sports hero.” The fact that I was able to deliver that message to him is something I’ve been grateful for ever since it happened. When I heard the news yesterday, I cried. And I went to the stadium and added flowers to the memorial at his statue. My heart hurts and I will miss you. Rest in peace #19. 😦

I had the blessing of being able to grow up watching Tony play and he was the first hero I ever had in life. Even as I got older I still felt the lessons I had learned from watching him. My condolences to his friends, family and everyone who’s reeling right now, because I know I certainly am.

It’s not much, but it’s because of Tony that I got into sportswriting a few years back, so I thought I would post a small tribute to him on my blog. http://brittany-frederick.com/2014/06/17/the-bftv-tribute-to-tony-gwynn/ Thank you, Mr. Gwynn, we never knew each other but you motivated me to change my entire life for the better.

Ban tobacco now, MLB! Tony Gwynn would be alive today, were it not for tobacco.

Greatest baseball player ever. No other brought so much joy to my father and me; he will truly be missed, but is alive in memory. One such memory I have is how great of a fielder he was. Once, I was too young and therefore don’t remember exactly which game it was, he caught a fly ball bare handed and lasered the ball to home plate to keep the baserunner on third from tagging up. Way to go, Tony!

I was born in Anahiem. I was an angel fan when Reggie Jackson and Jim Abbott wore their halo’s. To me growing up, baseball was the angels. Then i moved to San Diego. I wasn’t really a fan of the Padres, until i learned of #19, Mr. Tony Gwynn. 20 years he played for ONE TEAM. despite the big money offers he recieved to play elsewhere. Tony stayed in S.D. because he was a Padre. San Diego was his home. He was a man who playeyed for the love of the game, not of money.That is a quality i feel is not as prevelant as it should be in professional sports. Then i saw him play!!!! It was beautiful. since then, and for the rest of my days, i am a Padre. Even after moving to Oregon, I still catch as many games as possible. Thank you, Tony. Thank you for keeping the magic of baseball alive. Thank you for giving me a reason to “Keep The Faith!” I can honestly say that other than family, YOU ARE AND ALWAYS WILL BE MY HERO! You will be missed.

One of the memories that keeps coming to my mind was from the trip I took to St. Louis to watch the Padres and Cardinals in 2001. I used to make one road trip a year to watch our boys play out of town and when Tony announced 2001 would be his last year I decided I wanted to see the send-off the fans of St. Louis would give him (even though it was scheduled for July which is gosh-awful hot in the mid-west and Busch stadium was infamous for not having a breath of a breeze).

Tony was coming out extra early before each game to sign autographs for fans, the crowds would be 30 or more folks deep and spread out all along the third base line but he’d patiently sign and sign and sign until everyone had gotten their turn. There was a woman at the back of the crowd, too polite to push forward but clearly getting more and more distressed as the time passed and she wasn’t getting any closer to Tony. I saw that she had a copy of his book on hitting and she saw that I was wearing Padres gear and mistakenly thought I was affiliated with the team and started to explain to me that her husband had Lou Gherig’s disease and didn’t have the use of his legs anymore but could still hold a book and admired Tony’s skill and work ethic more than any other ball player and so she’d ordered the book when she knew the Padres were coming to St. Louis in hopes of getting his signature and she was telling me all this while trying to hold back tears.

I told her I wasn’t any kind of official but that I’d do what I could to help her get to the front of the line and wiggled my way to within earshot of Tony and started explaining the situation. He stopped what he was doing and looked up and had me repeat what I’d said. Then asked me to point her out and he had one of the security people go get her and he asked folks to just hold on a minute while he took her off to one side and spoke with her for a bit. Of course we couldn’t hear went on between them but he was clearly being kind. He wrote a message in the book along with his signature and gave her a gentle hug. He caught my eye as he walked back toward the waiting group and mouthed the words “thank you” to me. I just tapped my heart twice and nodded but I was so proud of the example he set… he was such a generous person.

my childhood idol…..he was there along with ripken sandberg mattingly and boggs….they defined baseball in the 80’s.. rip

We’ll miss you Tony! Even though I’m a Cub’s fan, I’m a fan of the game itself; a purist who enjoys great players and moments. And I’ll tell the truth: when the bases were loaded and you were up to bat; I knew that you would win the game!

On top of all of that, you were a man who loved the game and bestowed honor to it with every swing of the bat. You loved people and we loved you. You had style, you had grace, and because of that, you made the game so much better. Now you’re in heaven with the ultimate “GRAND SLAM.”

I thank you for making the Padres special. It was you I admired to watch whenever the Cubs played the Padres, and when you beat us, I could only smile and say: There goes one of the best contact hitters in baseball and I would salute you!

When you died, I could see in my mind, all of the ghosts of the players enshrined in the Hall of Fame gathering around you and saying: “You played the game like we played it-with honor; integrity; class; and devotion. On this day; your plaque shines brightly like solid gold. We welcome our friend and his great accomplishments. Long live no.19 in our hearts forever! Bye Tony!

As a kid growing up, and being a lefty, Tony Gwynn was my inspiration to want to be the best baseball player I could be. I recall in little league when choosing a number there was no number 19 so I chose the next best thing the number 9. My deepest sympathy goes out to the family,

Here are some thoughts that I would like to share with everyone. To me Tony Gwynn was more than just a Hall of Fame baseball player he was my hero. Growing up watching sports as a kid in San Diego I had two favorite players in Junior Seau and Tony Gwynn but only one was my hero. When I was younger and played little league I would always watch Tony Gwynn’s hitting tapes the night before a big game. Once I even got suspended in grade school because I felt that it was more important to write Tony Gwynn a letter than write an essay on Jesus. I applied to San Diego State University because I wanted to follow in the foot steps of Tony Gwynn. I was admitted and after some goofing around like every college student does I will be graduating from San Diego State this coming Spring. I will be dedicating my diploma to the greatest man in the history of San Diego my hero, Tony Gwynn.

Thank you, Tony Gwynn, for all you did for the game of baseball, for the Padres, and for San Diego. I will always be a fan.

I am a Dodger fan but more importantly a baseball fan. I named my only son Anthony in honor of Gwynn, the player I admired the most while growing up. He truly was one of a kind and the game of baseball has suffered a big, big loss in his passing. RIP Mr. Padre. You will be missed.

RIP TONY YOU WILL BE MISSED. I watched many of your game and you were the best. God bless your famliy

Please everybody vote for Tony for the All Stars. You can write him in.

OMG… I cannot believe that Tony is Gone. I lived in San Diego for 22 years and even though I am a Lifelong RED SOX Fan, I was Cheering for the PADRES when they went to the World series vs Detroit in 1984 and the Evil Empire (Yankees) in 1999. I met Tony a number of times before and after games and even after He became the Head Coach at S.D.S.U.. Tony and His Wife were such Charitable folks. Tony Gwynn Ranks right up there with Ted Williams as the 2 Best Bats ever in Baseball. I remember when there was controversy over his contract in San Diego (Cheap Owners) and they weren’t going to Pay Tony his due because He was getting Older. At the Time, Boston had not yet acquired Big Papi, and I wrote to the S.D. Union-Tribune That the RED SOX would Gladly sign Tony for Four Years because they know a Great Talent when they see one. Talk about Tony going to Boston floated around San Diego for over a month before the Padres finally got off their Cheap Seats and Paid Tony what He was Worth. I tell You, I would have Loved to hear the Roar for Him each time He stepped to the Plate in Boston. It would have caused waves in San Diego Harbor.!!! When Great Men like Tony Gwynn Die so Young, it makes Us All Reflect on our own lives. I am 4 years older than Tony and fighting to get My career back after a bad car accident and 2 Spinal Surgeries… but, I am still here and I will use having known Tony Gwynn, even a little, to help catapult myself forward even more with a renewed strength and I will not give up Tony. One of My Goals is to make it back to San Diego to live… and I will. We will never forget your strength, spirit & joy that You brought to every day of your life and passed on to those around You. I Have Never Seen a Happier Man. Bless You Always, Tony Gwynn.

Naming the mascot, “Father Anthony” is a great idea!

God Bless you Tony. You were the consummate professional hitter – one of a kind – and a kind wonderful man. I learned how to be a better person from watching you conduct yourself with dignity and strength. You will be missed. Rest in peace. My thoughts are with your family.

The team mascot should be renamed in Tony’s honor as Father Anthony.

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