Monday, June 30, 2014

Tony Gwynn from 1998 and revised in 2007

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Tony Gwynn

It was May 1998.
The Padres were two months into what would be a National League Championship season.
It was the season which would lead to the eventual building of Petco Park.
I had access to the Padres clubhouse that day.
Tony Gwynn, as usual was holding court on his bench in front of his locker.
It had been an exhausting day.
Two games versus the Mets.
I was there to speak with Gwynn about his interest in mental imagery.
What I came away with was what almost anyone came away with when speaking with Gwynn.
Modesty and class.
In 1998, his seventeenth season in the big leagues, it was a given that Gwynn was already a first ballot Hall of Famer.
It was obvious to everyone who was ever fortunate to see this eight time batting champion play ball.
The only one with reservations was characteristically, Tony Gwynn.
I reached out to shake Tony’s hand and he graciously returned the handshake.
“It’s an honor to shake hands with a future Hall of Famer.” I remember saying.
Gwynn smiled sheepishly. “I don’t know about that, but thanks for coming.”
He didn’t know about that?
On Tuesday, January 9, 2007 he finally had to admit to something we have known since we San Diegans first set eyes on him in July, 1982.
Once or twice in a lifetime, you may have the pleasure of watching a ballplayer whose talent is only matched by his character and graciousness.
In San Diego, we have been twice blessed in the past quarter century.
Tony Gwynn and Trevor Hoffman.
And if you shake hands with Trevor this season, don’t be surprised if he replies to comments that he is a future Hall of Famer with a now familiar refrain:
“I don’t know about that.”
We know about that and we are the fortunate fans to have been treated to these class acts.
Once or twice in a lifetime.

Steve Tarde teaches Movies of the Mind to students through the Internet. Contact him through his blog at

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