When word got out that Hall of Fame baseball player Tony Gwynn had died, Dave Clauss started getting phone calls. The owner of Clairemont Sports Cards says fans wanted something to help them remember Tony.
"We had complete families in here," Clauss said. "The husband, the wife and some kids and they all were picking things that they liked."
Since Tony Gwynn entered professional baseball, there have been cards and collectibles with his name on it. For years, the San Diego Padres used his name for giveaways, like jerseys and bobble head dolls. There are thousands of baseball cards just for Tony Gwynn, so seeking a collectible to remember Tony is not a difficult thing.
Henry Frank with Centre City Sports Collectibles sells signed photos, helmets, cleats and much more. Frank says Tony's autograph is relatively cheap because he wasn't one to turn away a fan.
"Lots of his stuff out there because he signs, signs, signs and he never said no," Frank said.
Dave Clauss agreed. "I don't think he turned down many fans when somebody approached him," he said.
Sports collectibles have been around for many years. In the late 1800s, baseball player pictures were included in packs of cigarettes. Eventually, companies like Topps, Donruss, Fleer and Upper Deck capitalized on the popularity and produced millions of baseball cards. They eventually created cards with pieces of player jerseys, balls and bats. The industry has slowed down, but for players like Tony Gwynn, there are huge amounts of collectibles available to fans.
"I have customers who don't collect for the money," Frank said. "Just because they want a piece of everything he was ever on."
For fans, that will be easy. Tony not only leaves behind great memories on and off the field, but also an ocean of memories in the form of collectibles.