Ted Williams Tony Gwynn Padres
The new mural at Hoover High depicting Ted Williams, left, and Tony Gwynn, right. District officials joined special guests and students to help unveil it this week. Photo credit: @sdschools via Twitter

Hoover High School has unveiled a mural of two San Diego baseball icons – including one who attended the East San Diego school.

With the message, “United by Sport,” the mural depicts Hall of Famers Ted Williams, a Hoover High alum, and San Diego Padres great Tony Gwynn. Although they were generations apart, the two men developed a friendship based on their mastery of hitting.

District leaders joined representatives from the Padres and Boston Red Sox – Williams’ team – mural artist Jonny Pucci and friends and family members of Gwynn, at Tuesday’s unveiling.   

The mural, 16 feet wide by 8 feet high, is just steps from Ted Williams Field where the famous alum once played ball. 

In his 1966 Hall of Fame acceptance speech, Williams used the opportunity to advocate for Negro Leagues players to be included in the Hall. During his playing career, Williams was one of the first pro players to call for integration in the majors, which didn’t happen until 1947, when Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Williams, a San Diego native who died in 2002 at the age of 83, was one of Gwynn’s heroes, and later, a friend. Gwynn, who spent his whole career with the Padres, died of cancer in 2014. He was 54.

“Sports provide the opportunity to learn incredibly valuable life lessons,” said San Diego Unified Board President Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne. “They also allow you to develop lifelong friendships through a common bond. This mural wonderfully captures that essence between two men from different generations and different backgrounds.” 

The mural is a bond-funded project by the San Diego Unified School District. Pucci is a San Diego local who has created works related to the American civil rights movement and other historic moments.

The mural was created by Disorganized Depictions, an agency focused on creating social impact through large-scale murals. The firm also works with schools to teach students how to paint murals and learn real-world career skills.

The Padres also provided free tickets for each player and coach from Hoover’s baseball and softball teams. They attended Monday’s game against the New York Mets at Petco Park.