This morning I went with the Pacific Photographic Society for a private tour of Petco Park, which is where the San Diego Padres profess to being a major league baseball team. Their current record as of today is 41-54, good enough for third place in the National League West, out of 5 teams in that division.
At least the tour was much better than our major league baseball team is.
On the north side of the stadium is a statue of Tony Gwynn, also known as Mr. Padre. Looks like this:
Sadly, Tony Gwynn died on June 16, 2014, at the age of 54, after battling salivary gland cancer for about a year. I don’t know what caused the cancer, but chewing tobacco used by major league baseball players comes immediately to mind.
Gwynn was born in Los Angeles and attended college at San Diego State University where he played baseball for three years and basketball for four years. He was drafted on the same day in 1981 by both the San Diego Padres baseball team and the San Diego Clippers basketball team, ultimately choosing baseball.
Gwynn hit left handed and won eight batting titles, was an all-star 15 times, and won seven Silver Slugger Awards for his offensive skills and five Gold Glove Awards for his defensive skills. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, his first year of eligibility.
Gwynn played in the World Series in 1984 and 1998, the only two World Series appearances in San Diego’s franchise history. He had a .338 career batting average and never hit below .309 in any full season. Gwynn retired with 3,141 career hits with the San Diego Padres, one of just ten players to reach the 3,000 hit club while only playing for only one team.
Following his retirement from professional baseball, Gwynn was hired as the head baseball coach at San Diego State University, which is when I got to know him as I hung out often at Aztec baseball games.
The Padres retired his #19 jersey number in 2004.
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