Tonight our Padres honored a legendary Friar with a pre-game ceremony to celebrate Trevor Hoffman's induction into the Padres Hall of Fame. About seven miles away at Qualcomm Stadium, the San Diego State Aztecs also honored a legendary Friar and one of their own.
Tony Gwynn played both basketball and baseball, and later went on to coach the latter, at SDSU. But the reach of his impact on the university and the city as a whole is palpable. That's why tonight the Aztecs football team paid tribute to "Coach Gwynn" as they played their season opener in his former home.
On the field, the initials "TG" were printed in Aztecs red & black on both 19-yard lines. I read a tweet earlier (though I can't find it anymore) which noted that one of the 19s was placed exactly where right field used to be at Jack Murphy Stadium.
Aztec Warrior Stadium under sunny skies. Got the TG on the field in honor of Tony Gwynn. pic.twitter.com/mqLAXNRR76— Darin Wong (@dwong_) August 30, 2014
Upon entrance to the stadium, fans received stickers with the initials TG and an Aztecs spear.
Georgia Lacey with Aztec Golf handing out Tony Gwynn stickers at the Aztec football game pic.twitter.com/n9fJXsBuvk— Leslie Spalding (@SanDiegoStWGolf) August 30, 2014
Got the W and this gem pic.twitter.com/TCtiNuUTqi— Paul Garrison (@Aztecpaulg) August 31, 2014
The players also wore TG stickers on their helmets.
Really cool thing about the photo above: Notice the number? That's the helmet of Junior Seau's nephew, Micah, who made the first start of his college career this afternoon.
Prior to the start of the game, a video tribute was played on the big screen. Then Gwynn's family took to the center of the field for a pre-game ceremony. Traditionally, the Aztec Warrior plants a spear into the ground at the 50-yard-line before each game, but today he gave the spear to Alicia Gwynn to do the honors.
Members of the SDSU baseball coaching staff and team also joined Gwynn's family on the field during the pre-game ceremony. The entire baseball team wore shirts imprinted with the number 19 on the back and a quote by Tony, which read, "You can’t live on what you’ve done yesterday. You have to go out and prove yourself today."
In fitting tribute, the Aztecs went on to prove themselves today by winning their season opener. And I bet Tony was singing the fight song right along with them.