While all time great Trevor Hoffman was being inducted into the Padres Hall of Fame Saturday night, another Hall of Famer was being honored across the 8 freeway at Qualcomm Stadium as the San Diego State Aztecs honored Tony Gwynn before their home opener against Northern Arizona.
Gwynn was honored on the same field that he roamed for his entire career as his wife Alicia and the rest of the Gwynn family were present for the pregame ceremony. The Gwynn family was given the honor of planting the Aztec Warrior’s spear into the logo at midfield, a long time tradition at San Diego State. Alicia was joined by daughter Anisha, her husband Kennard Smith and their son Cayden, along with with other members of Alicia’s family.
Tony Gwynn‘s initials “TG”, stylized in red and black SDSU font were painted on the 20 yard line on each side of the field. The SDSU football team also wore the initials on back of their helmets. A powerful video tribute was also shown before kickoff.
Head baseball head coach Mark Martinez, Gwynn’s successor was also present, along with four players from the Aztec baseball team who wore black T-shirts with the number 19 on the back, along with a quote from Tony Gwynn: “You can’t live on what you’ve done yesterday. You have to go out and prove yourself today.”
Gywnn’s wife Alicia spoke of the outpouring support from the San Diego community, who have helped her cope with the loss of her husband. Alicia also went on to mention how Tony was at peace in his final days, carrying the same cheerful spirit that he showed the fans when he patrolled right field for the Padres.
This is one of many ceremonies that San Diegans have held for Gwynn since his passing, and many more are surely to come. Gwynn was truly an icon for San Diego, which has seen its fair share of superstars leave for greener pastures. He was the loyal cornerstone of two pennant winning clubs in 1984 and 1998. He was also the lone bright spot in multiple losing seasons that involved fire sales, ownership changes and absolute futility. His spirit and workman-like work ethic will forever be immortalized in all aspects of the city.