Tony Gwynn Memorial
On May 9, 2017 – the day that would have been his 57th birthday – the City of Poway unveiled a memorial statue and plaza at Lake Poway in honor of long-time resident and baseball legend, Tony Gwynn. Gwynn was known as "Mr. Padre" for spending his entire professional career with the San Diego Padres baseball team. In two decades, he won 15 batting titles, earned 15 trips to the All Star game and received five Gold Glove awards.
And while celebrated for his incredible athletic ability, heart and outstanding work ethic, Tony was also adored as a parent, grandparent, friend, community contributor and Poway neighbor.
“The rest of the world knew Tony as a Hall of Fame ballplayer,” Poway Mayor Steve Vaus said. “In Poway he was so much more. This statue is a tribute to a life that, though far too short, was exceptionally well-lived.”
As the ceremony was getting ready to begin, his widow Alicia said: “I’d love to have Tony here, but I know he’s shining on us. This is where he lived. This is where he loved and this is where he always wanted to be.”
The bronze likeness of Gwynn, designed by Seth Vandable, was chosen during a nationwide search. He was one of seven artists invited to present from hundreds that responded to the RFQ (request for qualifications), but his vision of what the statue should represent instantly captured the panel of jurors. The panel was moderated by art consultant Rebecca Basford and comprised of members of the design community, former players and the Gwynn family. The statue stands more than 11 feet tall and captures Gwynn waving to the crowd with one arm, while holding his daughter, Anisha, in the other.
Poway’s tribute to its "hometown hero" was a true team effort. More than a dozen businesses pitched in with materials, equipment and labor valuing more than $100,000 to cover construction-related costs. Poway residents and Gwynn fans alike raised nearly $200,000 in cash donations to build the statue and surrounding plaza. (See donor recognition here.)
Thank you to Poway residents, businesses from around San Diego County, and Gwynn fans near and far who helped create a tribute that will likely become one of our city’s most recognizable landmarks.
Visit Lake Poway for information about park hours. Please note that visiting Lake Poway is always free for Poway residents. Non-residents are charged a parking fee on weekends and holidays (more info).