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Padres' alumni game vs. Navy All-Stars a success

Softball game part of longstanding support of military
MLB.com

SAN DIEGO -- Tony Gwynn Jr. wandered the turf field at Naval Base San Diego, stretching, playing catch and rocking two pairs of sunglasses.

One was for the softball game he was about to play. The second recorded what he was seeing. It was a day Gwynn wanted to remember, as he and about a dozen Padres alumni faced the U.S. Navy All-Stars on Friday.

SAN DIEGO -- Tony Gwynn Jr. wandered the turf field at Naval Base San Diego, stretching, playing catch and rocking two pairs of sunglasses.

One was for the softball game he was about to play. The second recorded what he was seeing. It was a day Gwynn wanted to remember, as he and about a dozen Padres alumni faced the U.S. Navy All-Stars on Friday.

The former pros, covering five decades of Padres history, couldn't come away with the victory, falling, 13-8 to the Navy. But Gwynn, who played for San Diego from 2009-10 and is the son of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, enjoyed the day nonetheless.

"To be at Naval Base with the men and women who keep our safety and be able to show some thanks and love, it's an honor to be here," Gwynn said. "This is something that I hope we do it every year."

The Padres alumni team also featured Garry Templeton, Steve Finley, Brian and Marcus Giles. Former Padres manager and Korean War veteran Roger Craig served as the honorary manager. The Navy team was composed of 14 players from a larger league at the base.

The event was the brainchild of Padres Hall of Famer Randy Jones, military affairs advisor J.J. Quinn and Tom Seidler, the team's senior vice president, community and military affairs. It was the first time the Padres have held such an event, but Jones said he wants to see it continue, with efforts being made for a game against Marines.

"The start of many," Jones said. "I want to get the alumni more involved, and I think this is a great start to it."

Current Padres Wil Myers, Austin Hedges, Cory Spangenberg and Brandon Maurer were in attendance and spent time with fans, military members and the alumni.

"I know a lot of the names that are here," Myers said. "It's pretty cool just to see some of the guys that I grew up watching on TV. Now, I get to watch them play some softball."

Jones, the 1976 National League Cy Young winner, was the starting pitcher for the Padres, serving up five runs in his one inning. Three came on a shot to center by Chief Petty Officer David Wells. Wells, from Illinois, grew up a Cardinals fan and didn't know he'd taken a Cy Young winner deep.

He was thankful the Padres gave him the opportunity.

"It's good to have them come out here to do this, to have the camaraderie and the community relations with the Padres," Wells said. "The way they support the Navy and the troops, it's amazing."

Gwynn swung and missed on Wells' first pitch, but he quickly flashed a smile. He was just happy to be a part of the Padres continual support of the military.

"To me, it's nothing new," Gwynn said. "I think the Padres have always been at the forefront when it comes to our military and supporting the men and women who put their lives on the line for us."

Nathan Ruiz is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego.