Triple-A outfielder Cory Vaughn, who played for Tony Gwynn at San Diego State, was particularly shaken by the death of the Hall of Famer at age 54 on June 16.
Vaughn attended the private memorial service for his former coach, then got back to Las Vegas for that night's game.Adam Rubin
Cory Vaughn played for Tony Gwynn at San Diego State.
“I almost started crying when they did the tribute about Coach Gwynn up on the scoreboard,” Vaughn told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “They did it a couple days ago, but it didn’t hit me hard. But seeing him in the casket (Saturday) and then seeing it again was brutal. I was trying to get my mind right for the game and block it out, but it was pretty tough. It was just a long day.
“He was a great baseball player, but he was an even better person, so it was just rough to see him go this early. Seeing his wife, Tony Gwynn Jr. and his daughter, it was real sad. Their pain, I couldn’t even imagine what they felt like.”
Vaughn added: “He was a loving, caring, generous person. You could talk to him about anything. He was always there for you. He was honestly one of the greatest people I’ve ever met. ... Between [Gwynn] and my pops [former major leaguer Greg Vaughn], they really made me the player I am today. [Gwynn] taught me how to be a professional on and off the field and my approach at the plate, not always trying to pull the ball.”