I-15 Sign Honors ‘Mr. Padre' Tony Gwynn

A portion of Interstate 15 in San Diego's North County will now be known as Tony Gwynn Memorial Freeway.

A 4.5 mile stretch of Interstate 15 from Scripps Poway Parkway to Camino Del Norte was named Monday in honor of the late San Diego Padres player and San Diego State University baseball coach.

Members of the Gwynn family including Tony Gwynn, Jr., Alicia Gwynn and Anisha Gwynn Jones attended the ceremony.

“I know he’s looking down, probably cackling, about him having his own piece of highway,” Gwynn's son said.

The family said this stretch of I-15 was particularly significant since it was the way the family drove to the ballpark every summer.

“We just appreciate all the love, all the support we’ve been given over the past year and a half,” said his daughter, Anisha. “We vow to keep going with our dad’s legacy.”

Gwynn, 54, died on June 16, 2014 after a long battle with cancer of the salivary gland. He was a longtime Poway resident.

He played as a San Diego Padre for 20 years with more than 3,100 hits in 2,400 games.

Shortly after retiring he was inducted into the Padres Hall of Fame and then the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Gwynn continued his commitment to the San Diego sports community after his own professional career ended, joining his alma mater San Diego State University as head baseball coach.

“I think it's important,” fan George Baretto told NBC7. “I think all cities should recognize locals for what their accomplishments are.”

Fans also agree the location is fitting. "He did a lot for the community in Poway," fan Sue Thomas explained.

Fan David Vasquez says it’s well deserved. “When you hear Tony Gwynn you think of San Diego and the Padres,” he said. “From 14 when I was a big, huge Padres fan like I am now it was all about Tony Gwynn. You always wanted him to do the best.”

“It was a shock when we heard that he passed away,” said Sebastian Hill another fan. “He'd been kind of part of our life for a long time.”

One year ago, San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted to approve $7,500 to purchase the signs.

Other honors for Gwynn include retiring of his jersey at San Diego State University's Tony Gwynn Stadium and The Tony Gwynn Classic, a 12-game college baseball tournament, which will debut from Feb. 26 to 28, 2016.

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