The Daily Aztec

Tony Gwynn takes leave of absence

by Ryan Posner

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San Diego State head baseball coach and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gywnn, has taken a leave of absence from coaching, dating back to March 24 due to medical conditions.

Growing up in San Diego a huge Padres fan, Gwynn was and still is my favorite baseball player of all time. I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to interview my childhood hero earlier this spring in preparation for an article for The Aztec.

Once I found out I was able to interview Gwynn, two thoughts ran through my head: this is the coolest thing that has ever happened to me and oh man am I nervous. With my palms sweating up a storm I went up to shake his hand and prepared to ask him a series of questions.

As I asked Gwynn question after question he answered with extreme depth, making my job easy and made me feel as if I was just talking baseball with an old friend. However, I was talking baseball with one of the best hitters of all time.

Just by the way he talked about his players and coaching staff you could tell that Gwynn cared deeply about his team. He is without a doubt the type of coach who gets the most out of his players, which was a huge reason the Aztecs were able to win the Mountain West Conference last year and make a NCAA Regional for the first time in four years.

After the interview concluded I again shook Gwynn’s hand and he told me to get his phone number from SDSU’s media relations department and call him whenever I wanted to talk. This nearly made my heart jump out of my chest, Tony Gwynn, Hall of Fame outfielder and my favorite player of all-time, wanted to give me his phone number. That just shows the kind of person he is, it didn’t matter that I wasn’t with ESPN or Sports Illustrated, he treated me with the same respect as every other press member.

Gwynn has put his heart and soul into coaching the Aztecs baseball team and has brought buzz to the ballpark that this program has never seen before. Thanks to his incredible coaching of this team they will be able to play well without him, due to the kind of veteran leaders he has developed.

A lot of times when you meet your childhood hero you are let down when you meet them and find out the kind of person they really are. When I met Gwynn I got to know the kind of person he is, a kind and humble man who cares deeply about the ones he loves and the game of baseball. He treated my interview with the same intensity he had treated them throughout his whole career, making me feel incredibly special.

He will forever remain my favorite baseball player and role model and I hope he gets well.

Photo by Monica Linzmeier, photo editor

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