On the final day of the 1982 season, San Diego rookie outfielder Tony Gwynn went 1 for 3 as the Padres took a 5-1 victory over playoff-bound Atlanta at Jack Murphy Stadium.
The very next day, Oct. 4, Gwynn's wife, Alicia, gave birth to a son, Tony, Jr. The timing was perfect: the elder Gwynn didn't have to miss a game to welcome his son to the world.
"It wasn't really acceptable then to do that," said Tony, Jr., now a Brewers rookie outfielder, said before a recent game. "When my sister (Anisha Nicole) was born, I think my dad missed it because he had a game. It was a different time then. You didn't miss games."
A quarter-century later, baseball has relaxed its standards just a bit. Players are permitted to miss games to attend births; coaches and managers can leave for high school and college graduations.
This summer, Tony Gwynn, Jr., will leave the Brewers for an occasion that will be equally joyful and even rarer than just about any other. His father will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on July 29 and the Brewers have granted Tony Gwynn, Jr., permission to leave a series in St. Louis to attend the ceremonies on the grounds of the Clark Sports Complex in Cooperstown, N.Y.
"It was something I thought about before spring training started this year," the younger Gwynn said. "I went and asked (general manager) Doug Melvin about it. I didn't think it would be an issue, but you never know. So, I went in and asked Doug about it and he told me it was not a problem."
The younger Gwynn isn't sure when or how he will get to upstate New York, but the Brewers are off the day following the ceremony and start a home series against the Mets July 31 at Miller Park.
"It's going to be exciting. I'm definitely looking forward to it."
Earlier this year, Gwynn, Jr., attended a function with his father and mingled with several Hall of Famers. "It was amazing," he said. "We were in this little room and just about any Hall of Famer you can think of was in there. I was sitting there with my mouth open."
The elder Gwynn will be inducted along with former Baltimore Orioles star Cal Ripken, Jr. Denny Matthews, a longtime broadcaster for Kansas City, will receive the Ford C. Frick Award and Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who started covering the Cardinals beat in 1982, will be honored with the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing.
In the tank? A lot of Bucks fans are pulling for their favorite team to lose in order to improve its draft position. That's understandable, but fans should be careful when you talk about players "tanking" games intentionally.
While the coaching staff and front office can impact games by having players sit out with questionable injuries, it's wrong to question the effort of players for one major reason:
Players don't care about the draft. Players are on bad teams don't what a team plans for next season, because many of them will be gone by then.
Does Earl Boykins, an impending free agent who has been on a scoring binge for the Bucks, look like he's not trying lately? What about fellow free-agent-to-be Ruben Patterson? Heck, even Michael Redd wants to boost his scoring average when he isn't resting his sore knee.
The idea that there is an organizational conspiracy to dump games falls flat because players on bad teams are looking out for themselves. That can lead to some ugly moments, particularly on the defensive end, but it's the way things go in the NBA.
Interestingly, the teams with the most ping pong balls have not always done well in the lottery.
Staying put: Now that Kentucky has hired Billy Gillespie as its new coach, you have to wonder what job opening Marquette's Tom Crean will be connected with next. There is a chance it could be in the NBA.
Not Masterful: Without rain, Augusta National looks like it could host a U.S. Open. Tiger Woods hasn't played well in the first two rounds, but don't count him out.
Looking ahead: The following players are eligible for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008: Brady Anderson, Andy Benes, Delino DeShields, Shawon Dunston, Chuck Finley, Travis Fryman, David Justice, Chuck Knoblauch, Mike Morgan, Robb Nen, Tim Raines, Greg Swindell, Randy Velarde, Mark Wohlers.
With no surefire locks on the ballot, it could bode well for holdovers like Burt Blyleven, Goose Gossage and Jim Rice.
The 2009 list of first-year eligibles includes Rickey Henderson, Mark Grace and Greg Vaughn.
A fitting tribute: A dozen years ago, Ken Griffey, Jr., seemed poised to become the Michael Jordan of baseball. He was the exciting superstar who could do it all; the guy with the million-watt smile who was going to be on all the commercials.
Injuries and other events conspired against that. When people mention the great players of this era, Griffey's name is tossed in as an afterthought or forgotten altogether. Considering the guy is approaching 2,500 hits, 500 doubles and 600 homers and has never been implicated in rumors of steroid use, that's somewhat sad.
It clearly wasn't his primary (or even secondary) motivation, but Griffey recently took a step toward improving his image by asking Commissioner Bud Selig if he could wear No. 42 to honor Jackie Robinson on the 60th anniversary of Robinson breaking the color barrier. Selig said yes, and now Griffey, the entire Dodgers team and select players from each team will wear the number in tribute. Bill Hall will wear the number for the Brewers.
That's a wonderful idea and Griffey, who appreciates the history of the game, deserves credit for taking the lead on it.
NOTEBOOK: Heading into Saturday, the Brewers are 69-71 all-time against the Cubs, including 35-35 in Milwaukee ... A week into the season, many fans in our informal survey seem to be happy with the low-key style of new Brewers announcer Brian Anderson. If the team plays well, fans will fall in love with Anderson .... The Brewers gave away the first of their 17 bobbleheads this season Friday night. Charlie Moore was featured ... Phil Rozewicz, who runs the visiting clubhouse at Miller Park, packed up his collection of more than 450 bobblehead dolls. "They were taking up too much room," Rozewicz said.
Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at OnMilwaukee.com. Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.