On what would have been his 57th birthday, Tony Gwynn was honored with a statue in his hometown.
On June 16, 2014, after long-term use of chewing tobacco left him dealing with oral cancer, former San Diego Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn died at age 54. He is synonymous with San Diego as a San Diego State alum who spent his entire 20-year major league career with the Padres before returning to be head coach at his alma mater.
Tuesday would have been Gwynn’s 57th birthday, and his hometown of Poway, California honored him with a statue. Gwynn’s likeness was put in front of the baseball field at Lake Poway, fittingly enough, near where Gwynn had maintained a home.
The Padres tweeted out a picture of the Gwynn statue.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) May 9, 2017
John Boggs, Gwynn’s long-time friend and agent, was among those who spoke about Gwynn at the ceremony (via NBC San Diego).
“Tony didn’t like a lot of ceremony and didn’t like a lot of praise. He was a very humble person,” Longtime friend and agent John Boggs said at Tuesday’s ceremony. “He would be very touched today and appreciative of this statue ceremony.”
San Diego was always in his heart, he said recalling a conversation he had with #19.”‘Boggs, who we kidding. I don’t want to play anywhere but here in San Diego,’” Gwynn’s former agent said. “That was vintage Tony.”
Gwynn was a 15-time All-Star, an eight-time National League batting champion, a seven-time Silver Slugger award winner and a five-time Gold Glover, with a .338 career batting average and 3,141 hits. He was a no-brainer first ballot Hall of Famer in 2007, earning over 97 percent of the vote. There’s no one else, and there will never be anyone else, who fits the nickname “Mr. Padre” better.