Tributes continue to pour in for Padres legend Tony Gwynn

Team still planning gala celebration of his career

SAN DIEGO - Tributes continued to pour in Tuesday for Hall of Fame baseball player Tony Gwynn, who died of cancer Monday at the age of 54.

A steady stream of fans converged on the Tony Gwynn statue at Petco Park, leaving flowers, Padres memorabilia, notes, photographs and balloons. The Park in the Park, where the statue is located, will be open until 11:30 p.m.

Charles Smith told 10News, "I was feeling for his family during this whole situation. It's hard."

Catherine Truesdale was fighting back tears.

"I grew up a 7-Up Jr. Padre when I was a little girl," she said. "I watched Tony play his first game."

For Rene Durazo, it was a day to share with his daughters.  

"Just to pay my respects and be part of what happens and it has me choked up," he said.

His agent, John Boggs, told a local television station that the former Padres right-fielder was a "very giving person" who had an impact on numerous people.

"I think people have to express their appreciation for him," Boggs said. "I think Tony would be surprised because Tony never measured anything like that. I don't think he realized how many people he touched."

The San Diego County Board of Supervisors adjourned its meeting in honor of the San Diego State head baseball coach. Supervisor Ron Roberts, a longtime baseball fan, said Gwynn was happiest when he was on the baseball field.

"Tony Gwynn stands out, really, as someone that we should admire for a whole lot of reasons," Roberts said. "He has been a hero and a role model for baseball fans everywhere, not just in San Diego, and perhaps more professional players should look up to him."

He said people throughout the nation have a "real warmth" for Gwynn.

The supervisors displayed a video tribute to Gwynn that included remarks from late baseball great Ted Williams, ex-Padres manager Bruce Bochy and former play-by-play announcer Jerry Coleman.

There are also people checking out Tony Gwynn memorabilia. Henry Frank owns Centre City Sports Collectibles. 

"Tony Gwynn rookie cards, baseballs … this morning I sold a signed base and a signed cleat," said Frank.

Anything with a signature will bring a price. He has a signed jersey for $399. A signed bat is listed for $350.

"They've gone up a little bit but not as much as a normal person passing away would be because of the fact that he signed a lot of stuff out there," said Frank.

Always fan-friendly, Gwynn signed whenever asked.

The Padres tell 10News that they are still drawing up plans for a memorial beyond the Park at the Park gatherings and talking with the Gwynn family about what they would like.

The tributes to long-time Padres announcer Coleman earlier this year and Chargers star linebacker Junior Seau in 2012 drew tens of thousands of sports fans and many other stars from baseball and football.

Coleman was honored for his military service, his time as a player with the New York Yankees and as manager and announcer for the Padres.

Seau's home was flooded with flowers and well-wishes after his death. His was a private funeral and then a public ceremony that night at Qualcomm Stadium.

Now another memorial for San Diego sports fans needs to be arranged. Andy Strasberg is a former Padres vice president of promotions.  He has a couple of ideas.

"I look at the schedule and I guess the old baseball guy in me sees Saturday, July 19, which just happens to be the anniversary of Tony's first game in the major leagues," he said.

Strasberg has another way to honor Gwynn.

"I would love the Padres to consider moving the right field marker where it says 330 out to where it would be 338 feet … putting a decimal point in front of it so every fan who comes to Petco Park will see forever Tony Gwynn's lifetime batting average," he said.

Strasberg was quick to add that he knows there are always many factors to consider when planning something like this.

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