Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

Padres News arrow-downArrow Down icon Arrow Up icon

3 SD legends, 3 statues -- and 3 backstories

@AJCassavell
January 13, 2021

Three statues adorn Petco Park -- for three larger-than-life San Diego sports figures. None were yet in place when the ballpark opened in 2004, but they've since become staples of the Petco Park experience. Here's a look at the history -- the men and their legacies -- behind all three

Three statues adorn Petco Park -- for three larger-than-life San Diego sports figures.

None were yet in place when the ballpark opened in 2004, but they've since become staples of the Petco Park experience.

Here's a look at the history -- the men and their legacies -- behind all three statues.

Tony Gwynn
Date unveiled: July 21, 2007

One of the ballpark's defining features, the Tony Gwynn statue sits hard atop the grassy area in the park behind right-center field. It's a likeness of Gwynn mid-swing, visible from most vantage points at Petco Park.

Rightly so. Gwynn is the defining figure in franchise history. He's undoubtedly one of the sport's greatest hitters, and he spent his entire 20-year career in San Diego, amassing a .338 average and 3,141 hits. Gwynn's immense legacy in the city is equal parts based on his brilliant on-field performance and his humble, charitable and affable off-field personality.

The statue of Gwynn was unveiled in 2007, a week before he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The area surrounding the statue features a walkway comprised of bricks engraved with messages from fans to Gwynn.

Jerry Coleman
Date unveiled: Sept. 15, 2012

It's hard to imagine a figure more beloved by a franchise he never played for. But that was Jerry Coleman, whose nine-year playing career was spent entirely with the Yankees before the Padres came into existence. Coleman was a Marine Corps pilot in World War II and the Korean War.

In 1972, Coleman became lead radio announcer for the Padres, and he remained in that role until his death in 2014 -- except for one ill-fated season as manager in 1980.

Coleman was utterly revered in San Diego for his down-to-earth broadcasting style and quirky catch phrases like, "Oh Doctor!" and "You can hang a star on that baby!"

His statue depicts Coleman not in baseball garb but in the uniform he wore as a Marine Corps pilot. It stands 7-foot-5 and is located at Petco Park's east entrance, with images of Coleman's life dotting the wall behind it. Those images fall into three categories -- "The Marine," "The Teammate" and "The Voice."

Trevor Hoffman
Date unveiled: August 18, 2018

As with Gwynn's statue unveiling, Hoffman was first honored with his bronze likeness during a tribute to his induction to the Hall of Fame in 2018. The statue sits in left field -- countering Gwynn's presence in right.

Hoffman spent 16 seasons in San Diego, retiring as the all-time saves king with 601 (a record that was eventually broken by Mariano Rivera). He recorded a 2.87 ERA and nine seasons of 40-plus saves, developing a reputation as one of the sport's most feared, dominant closers.

A Southern California native, Hoffman is revered in the community for his charity work and his always-engaging personality. His statue stands nine-feet tall and depicts Hoffman's high leg kick. Fittingly, it overlooks the two Petco Park bullpens.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell.