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Friend Remembers Baseball Great Tony Gwynn In New Book

Photo caption:

Photo by Associated Press

Tony Gwynn fights back tears as he acknowledges the standing ovation prior to the Padres' game against the Colorado Rockies, the final game of his career, Oct. 7, 2001.

A stretch of a San Diego freeway is now named after one of the most beloved figures in San Diego sports history. Interstate-15 between Scripps Poway Parkway and Camino del Norte is now named Tony Gwynn Memorial Freeway. The Padres Hall-of-Famer died just in 2014 at age 54 after a long battle with cancer.

Joe Plummer, who lived down the street from Gwynn as a kid in Long Beach, has written a new book, "Growing Up With Tony Gwynn, A Lifetime of Swinging For The Fences."

Plummer said his love for Gwynn was the reason he wrote the book. It includes photos of the little league teams the men played for as kids, press clippings from throughout Gwynn's career and a forward written by Gwynn's wife, Alicia.

Gwynn played baseball and basketball at San Diego State University. He went on to spend his entire major league career - 20 seasons - as a San Diego Padre.

He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.

"I just truly believe he was an Aztec for life," Plummer said. "He truly loved San Diego. They gave him his opportunity. I always told Tony of all the batting titles and all the gold gloves that he won, I thought his loyalty award for staying in San Diego was to me the biggest thing he could do."

Author Joe Plummer is a childhood friend of the late San Diego baseball star Tony Gwynn. He discusses his new book with KPBS' Kenny Goldberg.

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