Fans gather at Gwynn statue at Petco; Memorial event announced
Fans continuously passed by the statue of Mr. Padre, Tony Gwynn at Petco Park before, during and after Wednesday night’s game with the Seattle Mariners. Stopping to honor the man and mourn his passing at 54 years from oral cancer; placed at Tony’s feet were flowers, handwritten notes and different memorabilia collected by fans and offered as tribute and remembrance of the hometown Hall-of-Famer.
After some discussion concerning the proper location for a public memorial for the man who patrolled right field at Qualcomm for 20 years, the Padres made the announcement that the free memorial event would be at Petco Park at 7:19 pm on Thursday, June 26. The 19 minutes past 7 is a nod to Tony’s number 19 jersey, retired by the team when he retired.
The Home Plate, Park Boulevard, Gaslamp (7th Avenue) and East Village (10th Avenue) doors wil be opened at 5:30 pm for the event. While the team announced that there will be special speakers from different times in his life and career, no actual lineup of guests has yet been revealed. Many fans have expressed the hope that some number of “everyman fans”, the kind that Tony always had time for, would be selected to speak at the memorial.
Parking will be free for those attending at two different open-air parking lots, the Tailgate Lot and Parcel C Lot, both on Imperial Avenue. In addition, free parking will be available at the Padres Parkade garage at 10th and J.
Beginning with last night’s Mariners game, and continuing for the remainder of the 2014 season, players on the San Diego squad will be sporting a new patch on their uniforms, both home and away, to honor and remember Tony. The patch will depict a stylized home plate with a “19” inside. The Padres will continue to wear a patch in the shape of a star with “JC” in it in honor of Hall-of-Fame player and Padre sportscaster Jerry Coleman, who passed, at 89, this past January.