Well, tonight is the first Padres home game since the death of it's greatest player. I expect it to be a packed house and nary a dry eye in the audience (for those that get there on time - the location of Petco Park isn't ideal for late comers, unless you're taking the trolley). I really, really wish I could be there tonight, but will have to settle for the live stream (link here, not sure what time it starts, but game time is 7:10, I'd check in a little after 6:30, Pacific time).
In the meantime, here's a post that I've had in draft mode and I can't think of a better time to finish it up: All of Tony Gwynn's Topps base cards, from 1982 to 2002. Twenty years of hitting excellence, all in one uniform.
Well, I mean, the uniforms kinda changed a lot, but they always said "Padres" or "San Diego" across the front. That's what matters most.
Here's the first one. It all started in the 1983 Topps set. As far as I know, this is the only card that features Tony wearing anything besides his trademark #19. Not exactly the greatest shot of Tony, as he's tearing out of the box towards first, but easily the most famous of all of Tony's cards.
The '84 is one of my all time favorites, though I'm a little biased, since that's the year I was born, and the year of the Padres first World Series appearance. I've always considered the '85 card to be the "shades" card (along with '92 Stadium Club) and the '86 card to be the "forkball" card. The '92 is also a nostalgic one for me, since that was the year that I first got into collecting baseball cards. That one also looks like Tony is taking some hacks in the batting cage, which is fitting, given the amount of time he spent there.
Which one of these is not like the other? I'd say the '94 card. The rest of these all feature Mr. Padre with his weapon of choice: his bat (even if the '95 card is a little closely cropped). The '93 is my favorite of this page, again for nostalgic reasons, since '93 was probably the peak of my card collecting days (seriously, stacks and stacks of '93 Topps). Still, I'd say that the best looking photo of Gwynn is from the '00 set. Since the '96 Padres team is my personal favorite, I really want to like the '96 card, but I just don't like the design.
Here it is, the "sunset" card. Fitting that it appears to be during the twilight, judging by the shadows covering the fans. While the goldish border isn't a personal favorite of mine, it seems like it works. As far as baseball cards go, this seems like a pretty good one to go out to.
Here's the back of his final card. I know the print is small, but I'm not sure how to make it any bigger. The dude played a long time. Lots of red in the stats, as you go down the "Hits" and "Average" columns. If you notice the "LEAGUE LEADER IN ITALICS" note above, well, that'll explain it. Also, the number of his last card is 99, which seems like a good one to go out to as well, along with the picture of a distinguished looking Gwynn. Well done, Topps.
Well, those are all of Tony's Topps cards. Got a favorite? The "Favorite Gwynn Cards" countdown is in draft mode, but three of these made the cut.
To close it out, here are all of the numbers for Tony's baseball cards, starting in '83, ending in '02.
482, 251, 660, 10, 530, 360, 570, 730, 180, 270, 5, 620, 431, 250, 410, 1, 75, 2, 220, 99
Wow, guess I didn't even realize that there were a few low numbers in there (1, 2, 10, 75, 99). Trivial information, I suppose.
Anyways, there are more Gwynn posts forthcoming. Thanks for all the comments in the previous post. Great to see so many that appreciate one of San Diego's greats. Here's hoping that the Padres can pull out a win tonight to honor Tony. My man Andrew Cashner is on the mound, but he's facing Felix Hernandez, so it'll be tough.