Tony Gwynn was more than "Mr. Padre". He was my "Mr. Baseball".
On a day when we will look back at the incredible stats, the incredible man, the incredible ambassador to the San Diego Padres I look beyond that and what he did for this beautiful game. Everyone has their own idea of what baseball means to them and why they love the game. Tony Gwynn is why I love the game.
I was born and raised in San Diego but my dad was not a big Padre fan or even a baseball fan for that matter. He really was not into sports. So I didn't grow up with the TV or radio on in the background tuned into the Padres. I played Little League and went to the occasional game with my dad, but mostly was exposed to baseball through my friends and their parents. Normally this would not be enough to fall in love with baseball. Thank God for Tony Gwynn.
Tony was reason enough to follow the Padres, to follow baseball. He was worth the price of admission alone. I grew up at the perfect time, the perfect age to be both impressionable and appreciative of Tony Gwynn. And for that I thank him.