Family, friends pay respects to Tony Gwynn during private memorial service

SAN DIEGO - Hundreds of family and friends paid their respects to San Diego Padres great Tony Gwynn on Saturday.

The private funeral was held at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union at San Diego State University at 10 a.m. Gwynn's family was joined by about 200 close friends and representatives from SDSU, major league baseball and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Pall bearers included former Aztec baseball players Quintin Berry and Tim Zier who played under Gwynn's tutelage, current Padres manager Bud Black who played with Gwynn at SDSU, Aztecs director of baseball operations Landon Burt and former San Diego Padres Damian Jackson and Broderick Perkins.

National Baseball Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson attended the service along with Hall of Famers Rod Carew, Cal Ripken, Jr., Ozzie Smith and Dave Winfield. The ceremony included prayer by Bishop Donnie McGriff Sr. Clarence Cureton delivered the eulogy.

Gwynn passed away Monday after a long battle with cancer. He was 54.

The man who became known as "Mr. Padre" belted 3,141 hits, had a .338 career batting average and was a 15-time All Star. His playing career ended in 2001, and he was subsequently picked as head baseball coach for SDSU.

During his playing career, Gwynn won seven Silver Slugger Awards and five Gold Glove Awards. His eight batting titles tied for second-most in Major League Baseball history. The Padres -- the only Major League Baseball team for which he played -- retired his number in 2004.

Before the team's home game on Wednesday, there were numerous tributes to Gwynn, including an emotional video tribute followed by a 19-second moment of silence.

Earlier in the week, fans gathered at Gwynn's statue at Petco Park's Park in the Park and left flowers, Padres memorabilia, notes, photographs and balloons.

A public memorial will be held next Thursday at Petco Park. The gates are scheduled to open at 5:30 p.m. and the service will begin at 7:19 p.m.

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