The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Strasburg on relationship with Hall of Famer and college coach Tony Gwynn

  • Print

WASHINGTON - When Tony Gwynn died, baseball lost a star. Stephen Strasburg lost a former coach — and a man he calls "part of my family."

The Nationals ace said Gwynn was "like a god to me growing up" in San Diego. Strasburg went on to pitch for San Diego State, where Gwynn coached from 2007-09.

Strasburg always made a point of going to see Gwynn when he got back to San Diego in the off-season.

"It became pretty tough the last couple of years with health issues and everything," he said. "Every time we'd come into San Diego I'd make sure to try and stop by and say 'hello,' and obviously I'd come by a lot in the off-season. This past off-season was probably the least I was able to see him."

Gwynn died on Monday at age 54 of oral cancer.

The 25-year-old Strasburg said he was 'blessed' to have played for Gwynn and recalled that one of the lessons he learned from him was how to handle the ups and downs inherent in life and baseball.

"Not everything goes your way in life, and certainly not in this game," he said. "I think that's one of the things, from a personal perspective I struggled with that, and he really helped me understand that's it's not necessarily the results, it's the work you put in every single day. That's what matters at the end of the day."

When Strasburg made his Major League debut on June 8, 2010 versus Pittsburgh, Gwynn was at Nationals Park watching in a suite with the pitcher's family.

"I was talking to my great uncle, and he's not doing great health-wise, but we're sitting there talking and he's like, 'That was so cool watching the game. I had Tony Gwynn sitting right next to me telling me everything about what you were doing out there,'" Strasburg said. "Coach, he became part of my family as well and he wasn't going to miss that."

That night, the right-hander struck out 14 in seven innings for his first win.

Strasburg and the Nationals were off Monday when news of Gwynn's passing broke.

"It's definitely a blow," Strasburg said. "It was tough waking up yesterday on the off day and getting the news, but I've just been saying some prayers for the Gwynn family and obviously all the people back in San Diego who mourn his loss as well."

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

The greening of Elphaba the Wicked Witch in Wicked

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Marc Gallant/Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Korea Veterans Association stained glass window at Deer Lodge Centre. Dedication with Minister of Veterans Affairs Dr. Rey Pagtakhan. March 12, 2003.
  • JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Local-(Standup photo)- A wood duck swims through the water with fall refections in Kildonan Park Thursday afternoon.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

How many wins do you think the Bombers will finish with this season?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google