‘Amazing Grace’ for Tony Gwynn: Petco Park Memorial Service

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Photos by Chris Stone

“Amazing Grace” was sung — along with the San Diego State fight song. Doves were released, and so was a flood of tears.

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Sun sets behind Tony Gwynn statue at memorial at Petco Park.
An estimated 23,000 fans packed Petco Park on Thursday night to remember Mr. Padre — Tony Gwynn — who died June 16 at age 54.

With broadcaster Ted Leitner as emcee, a right-field ceremony saw celebrities of politics and sports pay their final respects to the Hall of Fame slugger who made San Diego proud. Mayor Kevin Faulconer mourned along with Steve Garvey. Fellow Padres great Trevor Hoffman spoke along with Mr. October — Reggie Jackson. Father Joe Carroll didn’t speak, but former Gwynn teammate Damian Jackson did.

John Boggs talked about his honor of being Gwynn’s agent, and new SDSU baseball coach Mark Martinez spoke, along with county Supervisor Ron Roberts.

The Padres have posted a 90-minute video of the tribute.

Thousands of fans streamed through the gates before the 7:19 p.m. start as if ready for a championship game. Hot dogs and popcorn were sold, but no beer. Soulful music mixed with echoes of Gwynn’s laugh brought tears and more laughter to those who gathered a final time to chant “Tony, Tony, Tony.”

Gwynn was the head baseball coach at San Diego State at the time of his death following a long battle with cancer. The eight-time National League batting champion and right-fielder blamed his salivary gland cancer on his career-long habit of chewing tobacco.

Since his death, several major league players have sworn off smokeless tobacco products, including former Aztecs Stephen Strasburg of the Washington Nationals and Addison Reed of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Former teammates and opponents, Major League Baseball officials and San Diego civic leaders have praised Gwynn’s talent and character, while hundreds of fans have left flowers, balloons, pictures, notes and memorabilia at the base of a statue of the prolific hitter in Petco Park.

The night ended with more chants of “Tony, Tony, Tony.”

Reggie Jackson (center) and Dick Enberg (right) at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Trevor Hoffman at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Steve Garvey at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Manager Bud Black at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Embraces at at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Former GM Kevin Towers (left) at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Father Joe Carroll at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
"Amazing Grace" singer at end of Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Stadium went dark and Tony Gwynn's number was lit up at end of Petco Park ceremony.more
Ted Leitner hugs Gwynn daughter Anisha Jones after she thanked the fans at Petco Park.more
Anisha Jones, Gwynn's daughter, thanks fans at Petco Park memorial for her father.more
Tears well in fan's eyes at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Fans brought signs at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Trevow Hoffman was second to last speaker at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Fans laugh at stories told at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Longtime Padres fan Lola Sherman watches a video tribute at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Family was seated at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Fan watches Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Mayor Kevin Faulconer at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Video tribute shows Gwynn as a child.more
Fans in upper deck display banner at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Side screen display photos at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Reggie Jackson at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Fan at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Special edition of U-T San Diego at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Fans stream into Petco Park for Tony Gwynn memorial.more
Snacks were served at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Signs were displayed at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
The Padres estimated 23,000 attended Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Fans continued to leave items at Tony Gwynn statue.more
Fans pose at Gwynn statue. more
Sun sets behind Tony Gwynn statue at memorial at Petco Park.more
Father and son watch Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Fan carried sign at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Matching No. 19s at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Fans show emotion at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Fans show emotion at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Fans show emotion at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Fans dry tears at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Fan brought cutout sign at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Fan brought replica sign at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Broadcaster Ted Leitner was emcee at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Fans showed emotion at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
Tony Gwynn Padres and Aztecs jerseys were displayed on the right-field stage. more
Fans showed emotion at Tony Gwynn memorial at Petco Park.more
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