Tony Gwynn honored all around San Diego

SAN DIEGO - A lot of people went to work Thursday wearing Tony Gwynn gear in honor of the Padres Hall of Fame right-fielder, and the County Administration Center even got in on the act.

A 30-by-35-foot mesh Tony Gwynn jersey was hung on the tower of the downtown building as San Diegans continued to mourn the batting champion who died of cancer Monday at the age of 54.

"You know, all over this city for the last couple of days, all I've been seeing is the number 19, the number 19 everywhere," Supervisor Ron Roberts said. "It's just hard to believe he's gone. He was an incredible man, an incredible asset, a great family guy and a man that absolutely should be a model for everybody in baseball today."

Supervisor Greg Cox said it was a large jersey for "a larger-than-life guy."

The jersey, bearing the uniform number he wore in his 20 seasons with the Padres, was first displayed at the county building in 2007, when he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Across the street at the Embarcadero, a yacht owner raised a white flag with the number 19 on his boat.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer also found a way to remember the hometown hero.

He said, "San Diegans love Tony Gwynn and we said what a great way to honor him today and encouraged all city employees to wear their Gwynn jerseys and Padres' memorabilia."

Former Padre and San Diego native Adrian Gonzalez admired Gwynn for being a rock star on the baseball field and a humble, compassionate man in his personal life.

"For me growing up, he meant everything that came with baseball. He was my childhood hero," Gonzalez said. "He was just a perfect example for a person like me to want to be like."

It is an example Gonzalez still lives by. The Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman was in town Thursday for a park cleanup project with some young adults. Gonzalez's foundation awarded several of them $2,500 scholarships, something he's been doing for years.

The Padres honored Gwynn Wednesday night before the first game at Petco Park since he died, with video tributes and "19" patches on the players' jerseys and caps.

A free public memorial for Gwynn will be held June 26 at Petco Park. The Home Plate, Park Boulevard, Gaslamp and East Village gates are scheduled to open at 5:30 p.m. and the service will begin at 7:19 p.m.

Padres officials said the tribute would celebrate Gwynn's life, accomplishments along with his contributions to the team, the city and to his sport. Special guests from throughout Gwynn's life also will be featured.

Free event parking will be provided at surface lots along Imperial Avenue on the southeast side of Petco Park and at the Padres Parkade garage at 10th Avenue and J Street.

At San Diego State University, Gwynn played baseball and basketball well enough that he was drafted into the professional ranks in both sports on the same day. He is still the Aztecs men's basketball all-time leader in assists.

He chose baseball and went on to become known as Mr. Padre.

Gwynn 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.

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