On September 4th, 2004 the Padres retired the number 19 for Tony Gwynn, the greatest Padre who ever lived. It was prior to a game that the Padres lost to the Rockies 8-2. I thought I'd share my blurry personal pictures from that night, just to reminisce.
While during the ceremony the crowd was still pretty sparse. Eventually 42,716 fans would fill the seats that night. These were the days when Petco Park hosted sellouts in the stands instead of sellouts in the front office. In some ways they were better times, but every season has its unique problems, I guess.
I never dreamt that the Padres would one day willingly take these numbers down so they could sell the space for an advertisement for Sycuan Casino. With each passing year more ads cover the ballpark. We've had some greedy owners since Petco Park opened including John Moores and Jeff Moorad, but even the guy named "More Ad" didn't attempt put an ad on top of the batter's eye at the expense of the Padres retired numbers.
Anyway, thumb through these pictures, if you'd like. It's amazing how much different the skyline looks now. It just goes to show that change is inevitable. Hopefully when Sycuan's deal ends in 2020 they'll be a change in Padres leadership too and the retired numbers will find their way home.