Gwynn: World Series homer was favorite
Padres legend waited 18 years for Series
Tony Gwynn's homer against the Yankees in the '98 World Series was the Hall of Famer's favorite hit of his career. Gwynn answered fans' questions about playing in the Majors, his upcoming induction into the Hall of Fame, Tony Jr. and more during an online chat Monday.
Tony Gwynn: Hi, this is Tony Gwynn. Welcome to my first Padres chat in a long time. Let's get to your questions right now.
PhillipGone: Tony, with your day in Cooperstown approaching, are you getting more nervous or excited at this point, knowing what this means to you? And, do you see this honor as a validation for your career or something even greater?
Gwynn: It's both. Nervous because you want to do a good job but exciting at the same time. You know who is going to be there, it's going to be the biggest crowd ever at the Hall of Fame for this weekend. It's time to go. I'm ready.
Joe_G: Hi, Tony. Thanks for taking the time to chat with us. When you visited the Hall earlier this year, was there one exhibit or piece that you enjoyed the most?
Gwynn: Yeah, they had a piece that described how the game changed when Jackie Robison broke the color barrier. Everybody I think knows Jackie's story, but I didn't think how it really impacted the game as a whole. It really had a strong impact on me, how much he really changed the game.
hawkins075: Tony, a real pleasure to contact you. I'm a massive Padres fan in Liverpool, England, having started following San Diego on their first trip to the Fall Classic (gulp) 23 years ago! I'd like to know who was the toughest pitcher you faced in your career?
Gwynn: Toughest for me was Randy Johnson -- 6-11, 95-mph fastball. He was awfully tough to square up. I never had much success against him.
Curbie: Of all your career hits, my favorite was your home run against the Yankees in the World Series. What is yours?
Gwynn: Mine too, by far. It doesn't count on the stats or the final numbers, but I waited 18 years to get to the World Series. That was my favorite moment by far.
Compadre: Currently, who is your favorite player in the MLB?
Gwynn: Right now, it's a tie between Albert Pujols and Jose Reyes with the Mets. I will stop what I'm doing to watch either one of those guys.
rocker17699: Tony, do you have a speech ready for your induction to the Hall of Fame? If so, could we get a small preview of it?
Gwynn: Yes, it's ready. But no preview today. I have to give everyone a reason to tune in on the 29th. That's what makes the weekend, the player's acceptance speech.
LockeSD: Hello, Tony. I'm looking forward to seeing your induction speech in two weeks. Of your eight batting titles, which chase involved the most suspense for you? (Rafael Palmeiro in '88, Will Clark in '89, Mike Piazza in '95, or Larry Walker in '97?)
Gwynn: Clark in '89 because it came down to the last day. We came in both hitting .333. It went down to the last at-bat, and I got a hit to win it. That one was fun. After that title, I didn't think about winning titles anymore. I just enjoyed playing the game.
pedro628: As a college baseball coach myself, I wondered what you liked the most about being a college coach and what you liked the least or toughest thing about the job.
Gwynn: The thing I like most is being on the field with the kids. That by far is the best part of the job. The thing I dislike the most is the politics, but I'm sure every coach has to deal with that at some point.
Arleney: Hi, Tony. My name is Arlene and I am from Milwaukee, Wisc. I have been following baseball since I was 15 years old. I am a long-time fan of the Milwaukee Brewers and the San Diego Padres. I think it is cool that your son is here in Milwaukee playing for the Brewers.
Gwynn: It is cool. I thought playing myself was good, but seeing my son play is even better. It's been great for us to be able to see him out there on the field.
Padfan55: Tony, you never got to play a game in Petco, but would you have liked to?
Gwynn: I would have loved to hit here. The home run wasn't really part of my game. I was a line drive hitter and that type of hitter is perfect for this park. But I'm just happy that we have a new ballpark. I get to work here and the TV booth is awesome, much better than Qualcomm, so I have reaped some benefits. With a street named after me and a statue going up, it keeps getting better and better.
Gwynn: I've got time for a few more questions before I have to go, so let's cover a few more.
BPOZ: Hey, Tony. What did it feel like when you hit your 3,000th hit? Being in Little League for three years, I have about 200 hits, so I wouldn't know what it feels like. So, what does it feel like?
Gwynn: The first feeling is relief, because the last 10 to 3,000 are different. At that point, people are coming to see you get hits and not do things right. The last 10 are so tough because you're hurrying up to try and get there. It was a sense of relief. Watch my speech on the 29th and you'll hear more about this.
Gwynn: This Hall of Fame Weekend isn't about me, it's really about the community. Teammates, coaches, family and the team are all part of this. This is where I wanted to be. San Diego is perfect for me. I was a baseball player and I enjoyed working to be the best I could be. I tried to set a good example. I tried to make people proud of me, my team and the city. I've got no regrets -- 13 days away, I've got butterflies but it's a pretty cool feeling that people think I did a pretty good job. And I'm proud to be a college coach at San Diego State. I'm trying to be the best college coach I can be, but we've got a lot of work to do. Speaking of the Aztecs, that's where I'm going right now. Thank you all for questions and maybe we'll do this again.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.