The family of late San Diego Padres icon Tony Gwynn held a private memorial service for the beloved baseball player Saturday morning at San Diego State University, a school spokesperson confirmed.
The memorial was held at 10 a.m. at the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union on campus and was attended by approximately 200 close family members and friends, as well as representatives from SDSU, Major League Baseball and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
An SDSU spokesperson said pall bearers included baseball players Quintin Berry, Bud Black, Landon Burt, Damian Jackson, Broderick Perkins and Tim Zier.
Those in attendance from the National Baseball Hall of Fame included President Jeff Idelson, Rod Carew, Cal Ripkin, Ozzie Smith, Barbara Robinson, wife of Frank Robinson, and Dave Winfield.
A public tribute will be held for Gwynn at Petco Park in downtown San Diego on Thursday. The event is free and open to all.
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 jersey.
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 icon. 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.
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.
On Thursday, San Diegans wore Padres gear to work and around town in honor of the man affectionately known as "Mr. Padre."
Many San Diegans remember Gwynn as an approachable, extremely likeable family man who always made time for his fans.
Following his professional baseball playing career Gwynn was the head baseball coach at SDSU for 12 seasons, maintaining his close ties to the city he adored.