SAN DIEGO - There was not a dry eye at Petco Park Wednesday night during a moving tribute for San Diego Padres great Tony Gwynn. The team pulled out all the stops –- including a win -- to honor the Hall of Famer who died of cancer Monday.
Gwynn was a hero to so many. Inside and outside of Petco Park Wednesday night, people were talking about how he inspired them.
Everywhere you looked, there was a tribute to Gwynn popping up somewhere –- from big-screen tributes to small screen, to Gwynn's number 19 painted on the grass in right field and to the right field wall lit up with black and white photos of Gwynn and the words "Mr. Padre."
Gwynn's 19 was also planted in the dirt behind home plate and remained lit up in center field while the memorial at the base of his statue at Park at the Park continues to grow. Hundreds were still dropping by to pay their respects.
"He as a San Diegan and a Padre instilled in everyone here in this city a sense of community," said fan Shirley Johnston. "He had the ability to bring a city together."
Before the game Thursday night, Mark Martinez, who is set to succeed Gwynn as the San Diego State Aztecs head baseball coach, threw out the first pitch to Padres manager Bud Black while surrounded by Aztec players. Moments later, the two embraced.
After that, there was an emotional video tribute set to the music of Frank Sinatra's "My Way." The tribute was put together by the Padres and shows Gwynn through the years. It played on the Jumbotron for all to see, followed by a 19-second moment of silence.
From Thursday night on, each Padres player will wear a number 19 patch over their hearts in addition to the one they are already wearing commemorating legendary Padres broadcaster Jerry Coleman.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is encouraging city employees and all San Diegans to wear Tony Gwynn gear or Padres attire tomorrow in honor of Gwynn.