SAN DIEGO – Hundreds of fans turned out at Petco Park to remember Tony Gwynn and placed mementos around the statue erected in 2004 after the Padres retired his No. 19.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer remembered watching Gwynn at Jack Murphy Stadium and said, “I saw him hit pitches that nobody thought he could hit.”
San Diego Chargers re-routed their fan appreciation day to pay homage to the baseball legend and all that he’s meant to San Diego and the Padres organization.
Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy said he was a huge fan a little boy and was always looking for his rookie card.
“Through the 80s, I was always trying to find that Tony Gwynn baseball card – every year,” McCoy said.
“I grew up here in San Diego with so many fond memories. He was my favorite baseball player growing up,” said Chargers CEO A.G. Spanos. “If there was San Diego Mount Rushmore, Tony Gwynn would be on it for sure!”
The passing of “Mr. Padre” had fans from every walk of life flocking to his commemorative statue, capturing him and his near impossible to strikeout swing.
A steady stream of fans old and young, famous and not, came by to place flowers, balloons, cards and memorabilia. Sitting on the grass in the park at the park watching video highlights of Gwynn’s hall of fame career highlights and reminisce about their favorite player both on the field and off.
“As a kid we watched him, so I just wanted to pay homage,” said another tearful fan. “Take a picture and let him know Chicago loves him.”
“We’re all familiar with his exploits on the field, but Tony Gwynn the person and what he did off the field,” said Faulconer. “They don’t make him like him anymore. He meant a great deal to the city and will for years and years to come.”