COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- The Mountain West will honor former San Diego State head coach and student-athlete Tony Gwynn with the naming of the conference’s Baseball Player of the Year Award. The leagues’ head baseball coaches made the recommendation at their annual meeting in August, and with the MW Joint Council’s recent approval, the change will be implemented beginning with the 2015 season.
Gwynn, who passed away on June 16, 2014 after a battle with cancer, was the head coach at San Diego State from 2002-14 and a former Aztec student-athlete in baseball and basketball. Gwynn was a two-time All-American as an outfielder after leading SDSU in hitting his final two seasons. In 1980, he posted a .423 batting average with six home runs and 29 RBI, garnering third-team All-America honors from Baseball News. The next year, Gwynn was named a first-team All-American after compiling a .416 batting average with 11 home runs and 62 RBI. His RBI total from the 1981 season still ranks among the top 10 on the Aztec single-season list.
Gwynn was a third-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres in 1981 and spent his entire 20-year major league career with the organization. He was a 15-time All-Star and made two World Series appearances. A career .338 hitter, Gwynn won eight batting titles and finished his playing career with 3,141 hits. In 1999, he received the Roberto Clemente Man of the Year Award for combining sportsmanship and community service with excellence on the field. He was also presented with the 1999 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, presented to the major league player who best exemplifies the character and leadership of the Hall of Fame first baseman both on and off the field. Gwynn was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.
In honor of Gwynn, league coaches have also indicated that their teams may display a “TG” memorial mark on their uniforms during the 2015 season.