Remembering And Celebrating The Magnificent Career Of Tony Gwynn

Remembering And Celebrating The Magnificent Career Of Tony Gwynn

Like most baseball fans across the globe, I took today’s news of Tony Gwynn’s death as a shock.  And while I had read prior reports about his health and battle with cancer, I did not expect his life to end today.

In a fog for a few hours after, I began recalling watching my generation’s greatest hitter perform at a level I have never seen duplicated.

Gwynn was as likable as any sports star in the 1980s and 1990s.  He smiled on the field, he did his job well, he was loyal to his organization – and best of all, he always worked harder with the goal of getting better.

Tonight, as I sit here, I wanted to share a few pieces of my personal collection that honors Mr. Padre.  I do this with a heavy heart, but also while sporting a smile for Tony Gwynn helped shape my love for the game during my youth.  And when I collected cards as a kid, and now again as a man and father of two young boys, I always try to grab cards of him for he was one of the best.

The first major league game that I ever attended was on a family vacation in 1985 to San Diego with my parents.   This is the ticket stub from the game – Gwynn went 1-for-4 on the day with a double.  I was 9 years old on this date – and already a Tony Gwynn fan.

gwynn ticket stub

When I got back into collecting baseball cards in 2008, one of the first players I decided to honor was Mr. Gwynn.  I put together a pretty good-sized collection of major brand cards from his playing days – from his rookie cards of 1983 through to the end of his career.

gwynn-collection

And one year for Christmas, my wife and kids surprised me with a Tony Gwynn signed ball for my collection.

And in a collection of 100+ signed baseballs, my Gwynn ball rests on the top row of the lot alongside such greats as Nolan Ryan and Dave Winfield.

Gwynn signed ball

Lastly, when my family and I took a vacation to Southern California in 2012, I made going to see a Padres game a priority.  And while Mr. Gwynn was obviously not playing, I certainly did my best to acknowledge and celebrate him by sporting a t-shirt with his name and jersey number on the back as I visited and had my picture taken with his statue at Petco Park.

Tony Gwynn Statue

Mr. Gwynn, I hope that you are finally resting comfortably.  Please know that you have impacted not just my life, but the lives of millions and millions of baseball fans and people across this country.  The joy we got by watching you play a sport we love at the highest level is something I am unable to put into words.

You may be gone now, but you will never be forgotten.  Rest in peace.

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8 responses to “Remembering And Celebrating The Magnificent Career Of Tony Gwynn

  1. Thanks for sharing the photos of your collection and the one in San Diego. I too was sadden this morning when I learned the news of Tony Gwynn passing. As baseball fans we will pass along the stories of Mr. Gwynn to our children and grandchildren, like our Fathers and Grandfather did of the greats from their time. Those of us that saw Mr. Gwynn play will not forget.
    Patrick .

  2. RIP #19, the best player I ever saw, rooted for, and loved. Tony IS San Diego baseball.

  3. I don’t think that there will be another hitter of Gwynn’s stature to ever play MLB again. He was easily the best pure hitter that I ever saw. For as great of a hitter that he was he seemed to be even a greater person and that is very rare these days.

    Thanks for sharing your pictures related to Tony Gwynn. Very jealous that you got see Gwynn play (in person) in a game.

  4. Thank you for such a great post. Mr. Gwynn will always be who I emulate in sports, and in life, and who I will tell stories with to my 2 year old daughter. Seeing those cards of his sure brings back wonderful memories. My collection was lost in a fire 15 years ago, but Gwynn, Carlton Fisk and Frank Thomas were my players I collected in every possible way, and that picture is nostalgic.

    Grateful for your site!

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