Tony Gwynn museum coming this summer

Posted at 6:32 PM, Feb 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-04 10:39:53-05

MIRAMAR -- There will soon be a new way for generations of Padres fans to remember the late Tony Gwynn.

AleSmith, the craft brewer who created a beer in honor of Mr. Padre, is about to open a museum dedicated to the Padres great.

The museum will be right under door number 19 at the brewery in Miramar. Gwynn wore 19 during his 20 years as a Padre.

"He's the epitome of San Diego sports, I think," said Padre fan Brian Ondek.

Gwynn passed away in June 2014 after a battle with cancer. As news broke, fans flooded to Petco Park, placing flowers at the base of his statue.

They gave their thanks to Gwynn for his loyalty to San Diego, in an era marked by big-money free agents changing teams.

AleSmith unveiled Pale Ale .394 -- named for Gwynn's highest batting average in a season -- about 10 days before he died.

AleSmith CEO Peter Zien wasn't done.

"The museum was a dream of Tony's," Zien said.

Zien is teaming up with the Tony and Alicia Gwynn Foundation to build a 5,000-square foot museum for Mr. Padre, connected to the brewery.

It'll have mementos from Gwynn’s Little League days to those commemorating his 3,000th hit.

"Some of the world's most valuable baseball memorabilia will be housed there," Zien said.

Zien said admission will be free. Construction is scheduled to begin this month so it can be open in time for the 2016 All Star Game in July, which is being held at Petco Park.

It'll be the Midsummer Classic's first appearance in San Diego since 1992, a game that Gwynn started.

For the non-baseball fans, the brewery welcomes dogs and kids, who can play in a special area with occasional drawing contests.

"It's really hard to find a person that isn't a beer fan or a baseball fan or both," Zien said.

They could walk away Tony Gwynn fans, joining generations of San Diegans who cheered on Mr. Padre both in, and out, of the batter's box.