Mr. San Diego is gone.
I hope this sad event will cause a renewed commitment by all of those who were lucky enough to witness his career, to rebuilding and maintaining baseball, and professional sports and the sense of community spirit it brings to our lives, in San Diego. Mr. San Diego would have wanted us to.
In this generation, there has been no one who has personified the whole San Diego experience any better than Tony. If San Diego can claim the moniker 'America's Finest City' than Tony Gwynn deserves to be called 'San Diego's Finest Citizen.'
Tony was a beautiful San Diego day as a person: warm, breezy, full of hope and excitement, and his aura shone like a golden sunset over the blue Pacific horizon. He was one and the same with the personality of the Greater San Diego area; not too ostentatious, never conceited or pompous, Tony could walk into any room and command it because everyone there respected him as a true ambassador for baseball, and good sportsmanship, and human dignity. The first time some fan shouted "You da Man!" it had to be directed at Tony.
If San Diego was a team, he'd be the Head Coach.
Tony and his wife Alicia raised their family in Poway and were often seen running errands and participating in school sports and community activities. Seemingly oblivious to their celebrity, the Gwynns were great neighbors.
Having spent his entire career in San Diego, at great personal and financial cost, Tony was probably the last professional athlete of his generation to value his family stability over his opportunities for financial enrichment.
We have had a number of sports legends call San Diego home; Ted Williams, Jerry Coleman, Marcus Allen, Billy Casper, Jimmie Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Junior Seau, LeDanian Tomlinson and Shaun White, to name just a few.
Truth is, they all stand in the shadow of Tony Gwynn.
As we mourn his passing, we Bask in the Sunlight Tony Gwynn brought to our lives.