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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

In a .338 Lifetime Average, Every Day Counted

I was a teenager when I first interviewed Gwynn, working for a small magazine I published from home. This was not Sports Illustrated or ESPN. He had no special reason to be nice. But every time the Padres came to town, Gwynn would greet me warmly.

He noticed things others would not. One time we spoke, I was wearing a Vanderbilt golf shirt. Gwynn noticed the logo and asked if I went there. When I said yes, he lit up. The Padres beat writer Buster Olney, of The San Diego Union-Tribune, also went there, Gwynn said excitedly. “You’ve got to meet him!” he said.

Pause for a moment to consider how rare this is. Few players would bother to notice a detail on a reporter’s shirt. Few would know which college the team’s beat writer had attended. Fewer still would then offer, with genuine enthusiasm, to play matchmaker.

But that was Gwynn. When our interview ended, he went back to the clubhouse, found Olney and brought him to the dugout to meet me. A few years later Olney was writing for The New York Times, and he recommended me for a job. Gwynn had set me on my career path.

Zach Posted: June 18, 2014 at 12:53 PM | 11 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: padres, tony gwynn

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 01:29 PM (#4729453)
I learned this week that Gwynn (for years) spent a lot of time in the offseason in Indianapolis, he owned a home in the area as his spouse/family had business ties here, and he was quite the local booster of teams, businesses and people. Lots of stories just like TFA on local radio here in Indy this week.
   2. TerpNats Posted: June 18, 2014 at 01:55 PM (#4729480)
What a wonderful gentleman.
   3. SG Posted: June 18, 2014 at 02:01 PM (#4729486)
This is another great story about Gwynn. It stinks that he had to pass away to get these stories about what a great guy he was.
   4. Hank G. Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:13 PM (#4729602)
This is another great story about Gwynn. It stinks that he had to pass away to get these stories about what a great guy he was.

That was a great story. Well worth the time to read it.
   5. Man o' Schwar Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4729605)
It stinks that he had to pass away to get these stories about what a great guy he was.

He's kind of the anti-Kirby Puckett, among 1990s outfielders who ballooned up after retirement.
   6. Publius Publicola Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:19 PM (#4729613)
The stories about Gwynn were always around. Everybody knew what a great guy he was. It's just that when somebody dies, they are brought up again as a sort of grieving mechanism..
   7. Batman Posted: June 18, 2014 at 03:37 PM (#4729659)
As far as I can tell, Tony Gwynn liked everybody who wasn't named Clark.
   8. Jarrod HypnerotomachiaPoliphili (TeddyF.Ballgame) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 04:00 PM (#4729710)
   9. Athletic Supporter is trying to remember your name Posted: June 18, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4729757)
   10. Ron J2 Posted: June 18, 2014 at 04:58 PM (#4729836)
#7 Wasn't the problem the other way? As in Clark (and seemingly Pagliarulo) didn't like Gwynn. Memory says Gwynn took the high road in the dispute (at least in public)
   11. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: June 18, 2014 at 08:30 PM (#4730067)
He's kind of the anti-Kirby Puckett, among 1990s outfielders who ballooned up after retirement.

How many players would be in the "1990's outfielders who ballooned after retirement" group?

Gwynn was a great human first, great batsman 2nd.

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