Now batting for your San Diego Padres number 29, Tooooonnnnyyyy Gwwwwyyyyynnnnnnnn. That’s right, I said number 29. In case you were wondering I’m not on drugs nor did I bump my head writing this. But imagine hearing the public address announcer introducing the greatest Padre ever with number 29?
In last Friday’s telecast of the Padres-Diamondbacks game, Tony Gwynn confessed to color analyst Mark Grant and play-by-play announcer Andy Masur on how close he was to switching his iconic number from 19 to 29.
“When we traded for Fred McGriff, Freddie was (No.) 19 with Toronto. He came and asked me ‘hey Tony could I have 19?’ I didn’t care, I was all ready to give it to him,” Gwynn said on Fox Sports San Diego.
“My favorite number was 29 and I couldn’t get it because somebody had it,” Gwynn said. “I’d been here seven, eight years and he wanted 19, and I was all ready to give it to him, but my wife said ‘You’re not giving it to him; it’s that simple.’ My agent also said ‘No, you’re not giving it to him. You’re going to keep 19.’”
“And so he took 29, it was there. I could have taken 29,” Gwynn added.
The Hall of Fame outfielder also said on the air that No. 29 was his favorite number because of Rod Carew, his boyhood idol.
Who can blame a guy who wants to be just like his idol?
After all, when I played junior varsity baseball I wanted to wear No. 19 because of well, you know who. Sadly, someone beat me to the number, so I had to settle for 17. Anyway, enough about me and my boyhood fantasies.
As I’m writing this, I’m thinking how different Padres history would have been if Gwynn donned number 29 and not the sacred 19.
I know it’s just a number and it should not have had any effect on Gwynn’s legendary stature or his skills. But it makes me wonder, would No. 29 be in the Hall of Fame today? Would number 29 have 3, 141 career hits and five gold gloves?
Thankfully, Gwynn’s wife, Alicia and Gwynn’s agent had some sense to convince him not to exchange numbers. Can you picture how ugly No. 29 would look sitting atop the batter’s eye?
There are just so many unanswered questions that thankfully will stay way. We can all send Alicia Gwynn and Tony’s agent a thank you card.
We can leave number 29 to the Don Williamses, Archi Cianfroccos and Brad Boxbergers of the world.
So I’m asking you, fans, how different would Padres history look if Mr. San Diego was number 29 instead of the famous 19?