Padres pay tribute to Hall of Famer Gwynn at Petco Park
JUN 18, 2014 10:00p ET
The Padres paid tribute to Tony Gwynn before Wednesday's home game, the first at Petco Park since the Hall of Famer died at the age of 54 on Monday.
Gwynn, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007, played his entire career with the Padres, debuting as a 22-year-old in 1982. The career .338 hitter won eight batting titles and finished with 3,141 hits, ranking 18th on the all-time list.
Before the game — a 2-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners — Padres players and coaches went out to Gwynn's position in right field, stood behind a No. 19 painted onto the field, and removed their caps during a 19-second moment of silence.
Mark Martinez, Gwynn's top assistant at San Diego State, threw the ceremonial first pitch to San Diego skipper Bud Black, who was Gwynn's teammate with the Aztecs for one season.
"Our city is a little darker today without him but immeasurably better because of him," San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said in a statement the day Gwynn died of oral cancer.
National baseball columnist Scott Miller of FOX Sports San Diego was right on when he wrote on Tuesday:
Tying to describe the enormous loss of Tony Gwynn is an enormously lost cause. It's like you woke up one morning and Balboa Park was gone. Or Moonlight Beach. Or any other San Diego landmark that fell somewhere between a civic treasure and a natural resource.
Tony Gwynn was both. He was up there somewhere between the moon and the stars in our world. Or, as Padres executive chairman Ron Fowler said so eloquently, "the only thing more dependable in San Diego than sunshine was Tony Gwynn."
Gwynn struck out only 434 times in 9,288 career at-bats. He played in San Diego's only two World Series — batting a combined .371 — and was a 15-time All-Star. He had a memorable home run in Game 1 of the 1998 World Series off fellow San Diegan David Wells, and scored the winning run in the 1994 All-Star Game despite a bum knee.
Gwynn never hit below .309 in a full season. He spread out his batting titles from 1984, when he batted .351, to 1997, when he hit .372.
Gwynn was hitting .394 when a players' strike ended the 1994 season, denying him a shot at becoming the first player to hit .400 since San Diego native Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.