7.29.2007

Tony Gwynn

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Well, today was the day.

Anthony Keith Gwynn is in the Hall of Fame.

(prepare for sentimental rambling)

From around 1984 to the day he retired, a large portion of my life consisted of the idol worship of Tony Gwynn. Mark had Lou Whitaker, Eric had Tony Armas, I had Gwynn.

Most of this time frame was pre-internet, so since I lived in Lemoore, 6 hours away from San Diego, I had no real access to anything live unless they played the Giants or they were somehow on national TV. Therefore, two of th biggest things in my life were: The sports section of the Fresno Bee to check the previous nights box score, and CNN Sports Tonight. Me and my friends tended to favor Fred Hickman and the porn star looking dude over the ESPN clowns. Sports Tonight came on I believe at 11:30 pm, at which point I should have been in bed.

Moving to San Diego and the internet of course changed all that. Stats were available instantly, and now I could actually go see my idol. Rarely did he disappoint. Even on bad, bad Padre teams he always managed to remain a bright spot. Game winning hits almost became routine.

I still think Tony should have been the MVP over Andre Dawson. Nobody agrees with me, and it wasn't even an issue at the time, as he finished 8th in voting. But c'mon, 218 hits, 36 doubles, 56 stolen bases (bet that shocked ya), and a .370 batting average? .370! Of course in 1994 he would bat .394 before baseball took a big shit on everyone. Even at .394 he finished 7th in MVP voting in a strike shortened year. So baseball writers have spent the last few weeks praising Tony, deservedly, but where were they when he was actually kicking ass? Huh? Huh?

Personal high notes for me were:

3) Tony soring the game winning run in the 1994 All Star game.

2) Getting to briefly shake Tony's hand as he circled the field after his last game at Jack Murphy...er Qualcomm. I told him he was robbed in 87. He looked confused. I guess I really AM the only one who believes this.

1) His home run against the Yankees in the 1998 World Series. That Yankees team was historically great, but for a moment, Gwynn's monster shot had all of us who drove to Qualcomm to watch the game on the Jumbotron thinking "we can do this". We couldn't, but I'll never forget that moment.

The low point was today. I had planned to be there for the induction ceremony, but things didn't work out. I should have at least went to San Diego, but that didn't even occur to me until yesterday. Doh.

Anyways, I have too many emotions about this whole thing for something as simple as a blog post. It's really weird to have the Tony Gwynn chapter of my life closed. Good tiimes.

Thanks Tony. And congratulations.

Oh, and by the way, screw you ESPN.com...this was the homepage earlier today:
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No mention at all? WTF?

Here is Yahoo! Sports:

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Congratulations Yahoo! Sports, for being my new sports news website of record.
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