If you see a lot of Padres gear at the office or around town on Thursday, it’s no coincidence. It’s all in honor of San Diego Padres icon, Tony Gwynn.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer sent out a memo Wednesday encouraging city employees and all San Diegans to wear Padres gear on June 19 as a tribute to Gwynn, also known as “Mr. Padre” or No. 19.
“Tony Gwynn is a true San Diego icon,” Faulconer said. “As San Diegans continue to mourn the loss of a Hall of Famer on and off the field, I encourage all of San Diego to pay tribute to Number 19 on the 19th.”
The mayor’s request was simple: wear Padres attire or anything with the team colors or logo, as appropriate, to the workplace. Faulconer also encouraged employers to follow suit and suit up in honor of Gwynn.
Gwynn died Monday after a long battle with cancer. He was 54 years old. He played for the Padres for 20 years and was extremely devoted to the City of San Diego and his fans.
Since his death fans have flocked to the Tony Gwynn statue at Petco Park to pay their respects, leaving behind tokens of love including flowers, letters, photos and stuffed animals. The makeshift memorial grows with each passing day, joining fans as they mourn the loss of a hometown hero.
Many of those fans have shared personal stories of their encounters with Gwynn over the years and what he meant to them. Padres President and CEO Mike Dee said the outpouring of love and support for Gwynn and his family over the past few days has been nothing short of overwhelming.
Dee welcomed the Padres gear gesture encouraged by the mayor.
“We’d like to thank the Mayor and all those who participate for this great gesture of support. The way San Diegans have come together to mourn, remember and pay tribute is a testament to the profound impact Tony had on this community,” said Dee.
On Thursday, fans can also visit the San Diego County Administration Building in downtown San Diego to get a larger-than-life glimpse of baseball greatness. At around 1:30 p.m. the west side of the building will boast a four-story-tall Gwynn jersey hanging for all to see. The jersey is 35 feet tall and 40 feet wide.
On Wednesday night, the Padres played their first home game since Gwynn’s death.
Before the crowd at Petco Park, the team took a moment to honor the unforgettable Mr. Padre. The players stood around a large No. 19 etched on the field and the entire stadium fell silent for 19 second, in remembrance. The players also wore a No. 19 patch on their uniforms.
Gwynn’s jersey was displayed inside the stadium and the words “Mr. Padre” lit up the scoreboard. His players from San Diego State University, also wearing No. 19 jerseys, threw out the first pitch. Fans – many emotional and wiping away tears – watched a video tribute to Gwynn showing some highlights from his two-decade career with the Padres.
The Padres have announced plans to host a public memorial service for Gwynn next week. The event will take place on June 26 at Petco Park and is free and open to the public. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and the memorial will begin at 7:19 p.m. – the exact time of the first game Gwynn ever played with the Padres in 1982. The time also, of course, signifies Gwynn’s legendary No. 19.