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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Tom Friend: Tony Gwynn used fear as motivation

In late April, I surprised him at the hospital. He was in a wheelchair. His hair was fully gray. He couldn’t open his right eye. He could only halfway open his mouth. He was on oxygen. The purest hitter of our generation was dying.

You can’t prepare yourself for that. Not when you knew him like I did. I was a rookie Padres beat writer in 1985; he’d won his first batting title in 1984. I knew him when his vision was 20-10, when he considered 1-for-4 a bad day at the office, when he used to write “5.5 hole” on his cleats. That day in the hospital, I would have done anything to see a young Tony Gwynn again. And then I looked down at his feet. He was wearing his old baseball shower shoes. On them was his scribbled number: 19. He was 19 to the end.

Ex-Padres beat writer visits dying Gwynn… my eyes must be smelling the smoke from the wood of a bat burning.

Gonfalon B. Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:16 AM | 0 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: rip, tony gwynn

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