Tony Gwynn: His Legend Lives On

Cover of 1998 World Series program; Padres and Tony Gwynn played Yankees that year.

Cover of 1998 World Series program; Padres and Tony Gwynn played Yankees that year.

Updated 12:39 p.m.

There were Dick Williams and Jerry Coleman.

And Tony Gwynn.

There were Jack Clark and Rickey Henderson.

And Tony Gwynn.

There were Roseanne Barr and the San Diego Chicken.

And Tony Gwynn.

There was the franchise that never won a World Series, had to play in the Dodgers’ shadow, and is still regarded by many as a farm team for other franchises. And there was the Hall of Famer, Tony Gwynn.

And for me, with a long Southern California career, Gwynn was the signature athlete of my professional media career. Not Herschel Walker. Not Chipper Jones.

Tony Gwynn.

The baseball legend’s death Monday at age 54 is sad first in human terms. That’s just too young.

But it’s a reminder of what a great athlete he was, how he forged a transcendent career with a franchise that usually struggled. And in fact, he was the only athlete in Padres history to play on both of their World Series teams — 1984 and 1998.

Free agency could not lure him away. Like Chipper Jones, Derek Jeter and Cal Ripken, he played his entire career with one team.

When there were just a few people in the stands for a meaningless game, I would watch to see if Gwynn could get another multi-hit game.

When the powerhouse Atlanta Braves came to San Diego for the 1998 playoffs, I was in the packed stands to see if Gwynn and the upstarts could stay hot in Game 3. They did. And I was in the Qualcomm Stadium stands for Game 4 of the World Series that same year (see the attached image).

So Gwynn is gone, and I’m getting older myself. His remarkable career will live forever. But I don’t think I’ll ever have the fandom and admiration for another athlete that I did for him. RIP, Tony.

— What are your thoughts of Tony Gwynn? Leave a comment below.





About Steve Burns

I live in the Atlanta area. I also lived for many years in Southern California. I'm into mainstream media, social media, sports, business and politics. I worked for AOL's Patch, but this is my personal blog. I'm on Twitter (@bsteve76), Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. See ya 'round!
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