Sports Phone had rolled out a new department called Sports Phone Live. I was one of the four announcers that were chosen to start up this subsidiary. Up to fifty callers at one time could call in, for a fee, and listen to us talk sports and, when opportunity arose, get to talk with one of our guests.
My job was to call the hotels where athletes were staying and ask them to come on the air for a few minutes. The first weekend of Sports Phone Live, this daring 22 year old went for broke and cold-called the great Tony Gwynn, the best possible potential guest of the visiting San Diego Padres.
Not only did Gwynn come on the air, he could not have been more gracious. He was my first professional interview and one of my favorites. In fact, I still have the cassette of that interview today.
As Gwynn's career became one of the greatest the game has ever seen--the .338 career batting average, 3,141 career hits, the two World Series, the Hall of Fame induction--I heard again and again how this superstar was also one of the greatest human beings to put on a baseball uniform.
Tony Gwynn passed away this morning at 54 years old. Only the good die young, indeed.