Padres History: The All-Star Game Was Always Special For Tony Gwynn


The long, historic tradition of Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game goes back decades and it still remains the most meaningful for those players who participate in it each year. Whether it was Boston’s Ted Williams smacking a walk-off home run in 1941 or Pete Rose running over of Ray Fosse in the 1970 mid-summer classic, the competitiveness of those who participate in it supersedes those in other sports.

There is always something special in July when baseball’s best come together each year to compete against one another for bragging rights and to determine home field advantage in the World Series.

For the San Diego PadresTony Gwynn, he did not need any incentive to compete and play in the All-Star Game. Over the course of his Hall of Fame career, Gwynn was a 15-time All-Star and started 12 times for the National League. There are so many moments fans can highlight,  but one of his most memorable ones came in Pittsburgh when he raced home to score the winning run in extra innings to claim victory for the National League. 

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His expression at home plate symbolized who Gwynn was as a player but it also showed just how much the All-Star Game meant to him. Bill Centers, the longtime sportswriter for the San Diego Union Tribune highlights Gwynn sentiments and love for the All-Star Game:

"“In my mind, there has always been something special about the All-Star Game that went beyond the World Series,” Gwynn once said. “Winning a World Series is the ultimate achievement, of course. But every time I went to an All-Star Game, I’d look around and feel like I was in a dream … all the greatest players were together on the same field.I not only grew up watching the All-Star Game. I’d write down lineups and start thinking about what National League hitter would be hitting against what American League pitcher. I’d come up with matchups I wanted to see.”"

In January, it was announced that the city of San Diego and Petco Park will host the 2016 All-Star Game. It will be the third time the mid-summer classic will be held in San Diego and it will be the first since 1992 when “Mr. Padre” headlined it while batting second in front his hometown crowd at old Jack Murphy Stadium.

Yet, with all the excitement of the All-Star Game returning to San Diego after 24 years, there is still a sadness that sits with the city and it’s fans. Gwynn’s passing last year continues to leave a hole in the hearts of Padres’ fans everywhere.

However, when the best players from both leagues take the field at Petco Park in July of 2016, Gwynn’s spirit, competitiveness, and love of baseball will no doubt be on display that day for city once again.

Next: Tony Gwynn & Ernie Banks: One Man Forces

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