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Tony Gwynn to be Honored at Lake Poway

Aug 20 2014, 10:55pm CDT | by , in News | Latest Sports News

Tony Gwynn to be Honored at Lake Poway
Photo Credit: Getty Images
 
 

The Poway City Council will name a ball field after the late San Diego Padres legend Tony Gwynn.

The Poway City Council will name a ball field after the late San Diego Padres legend Tony Gwynn

J. Harry Jones of The San Diego Union-Tribune reported on the development on Aug. 19:

"The Poway City Council has tentatively decided to honor the memory of longtime city resident Tony Gwynn by renaming a ball field at Lake Poway after him and erecting some sort of monument or plaque to remember his contributions to baseball and the community. 

"The council directed city staff Tuesday night to come back later this year with an analysis of how much the project of how much the project might cost and various possibilities for the appropriate type of permanent memorial. 

"Gwynn, San Diego's best known player for the San Diego Padres and one of the great hitters in the history of Major League Baseball, lived in Poway for nearly 30 yers and donated his time and money to numerous local causes. 

"He died after a four-year battle with cancer on June 16 at the age of 54. 

"Plans are already in motion to rename part of Ted Williams Parkway after the ballplayer. Such a name change will take some time because it requires an act by the state Legislature since the road is an extension of a state highway. The renaming of the Lake Poway field will be a separate, 'Poway way' for Gwynn to be remembered.

"A survey on the city's websited received 48 hits with the majority of respondents choosing a ball field option, although most suggested renaming the fields at Community Park. 

"But the four council members present all agreed that Lake Poway was more appropriate, partly because it is just a half-mile or less from Gwynn's home. 

"'There's something about the ball field at Lake Poway that I find very attractive,' Councilman Steve Vaus said. 'You can just about see Tony's home from up there.

"Vaus said he'd like to see a life-size slab of granite erected near the field with Gwynn's likeness etched in its face 'so folks could come and visit and take a picture and get the opportunity to remember Tony and all of his contributions.' 

"'I concur,' said Councilman John Mullin, 'mostly because I think Lake Poway's fields are more serene...I used to play at the lake and you couldn't help but enjoy where you were and the setting and the view and it is king of a pensive place, even at the softball field.'

"'It's a beautiful place just a few hundred yards from where he resided,' added Councilman Dave Grosch. 

"Mayor Don Higginson said whatever is done should be done with class. 

"'To do something amazing is to do it right,' he said.

"'The cost of a memorial shouldn't be a concern, Higginson said. He said donations will proably be easy to raise for such a project."

In another development, Mark Martinez will succeed Gwynn as the San Diego State Aztecs' head baseball coach, per Jones' colleague at The San Diego Union-Tribune, Kirk Kenney:

"San Diego State is expected to name Mark Martinez on Wednesday as the Aztecs' head baseball coach. 

"Martinez, 52, has been with the SDSU program for the past nine years, following 17 years as an assistant coach with New Mexico. 

"Martinez was made executive head coach in June when the school extended the contracts of Martinez and head coach Tony Gwynn. 

"This is a move that was expected but the university has been waiting for an appropriate time to make it official out of respect for Gwynn, who died on June 16. 

"SDSU players will be returning to campus soon -- fall classes are scheduled to start on Monday -- and the coaching situation needed to be addressed before the semester began. 

"Martinez becomes the fifth head coach in the 79-year history of the Aztecs baseball program, following Charlie Smith (1936-64), Lyle Olsen (1965-71), Jim Dietz (1972-2002) and Gwynn (2003-14). 

"'We're trying to make it a program (Gwynn) would be proud of,' said Martinez. 'And make it long-term, not short-term. Make it be one of those programs that you can say from now that Tony Gwynn laid the foundation for a really cool place to be a part of here.'

"SDSU finished the 2014 season with a 42-21 record and won the Mountain West Tournament for the second year, marking back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances for the Aztecs for the first time since 1990-91.

"Martinez has been instrumental in that success, taking on a larger role with the team and program during absences by Gwynn during his battle with cancer.

"When SDSU announced a three-year extension for Martinez in June, it was made clear the Martinez was in line to become the school's next head coach when Gwynn no longer wanted to be there. At the time, Gwynn was on a leave of absence and it was hoped that he would recover and return.

 

"Other expected announcements are for SDSU pitching coach John Pawlowski to become associate head coach and Joe Oliveira, who served as a volunteer assistant coach last season, to become a full-time assistant coach."  

Gwynn spent his entire 20-year MLB career with the Padres. He amassed 3,141 hits, 135 home runs and 1,138 RBIs on a career .338 batting average, per Baseball-Reference.com. 

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