With the recent completion of the Trevor Hoffman mural in Encinitas by artists Paul Jimenez and Signe Ditona of GroundFloorMurals, fans can now spend an entire day crisscrossing the county to see all six works of mural art.
In 2020, Jimenez and Ditona were both laid off from their restaurant jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. They spent many of their quarantine days in Chula Vista drawing sketches and making art – but they were also “full of anxiety” about how to support themselves. (“Our Story,” GroundFloorMurals.com)
A few months into the lockdown, Jimenez ordered an assortment pack of spray paint from an online vendor. His first project was painting a rooster on his mother’s backyard fence. He and Ditona have been spray painting ever since.
Their first player mural was of Tony Gwynn, circa 1987. Jimenez and his family are lifelong Padres fans, and he felt that painting “Mr. Padre” on a wall in San Diego was something that the community would embrace and could safely visit during the pandemic.
The Tony Gwynn mural (completed in November 2020) drew the attention of Padres photographer Matt Thomas, who advocated for the duo back at team headquarters and encouraged the Padres to commission mural projects with them.
The muralists didn’t have to wait for long to hear from the Padres once the 2021 season began. During the 7th inning of a Padres-Rangers game on April 9, 2021, Jimenez received a call from a Padres executive asking him to have his painting supplies on standby because Joe Musgrove was throwing the franchise’s first no-hitter. After receiving the necessary building approvals from Grossmont High School (Musgrove’s alma mater), Jimenez and Ditona worked tirelessly to complete the mural 48 hours after the final out was recorded. (The San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/14/21)
Next came murals of Fernando Tatis Jr., Manny Machado, Yu Darvish, and Trevor Hoffman.
In a recent interview, Jimenez told me that the Manny Machado mural was the most challenging one so far due to a tight deadline and because it involved multiple elements, including three different uniforms and images of Machado in action.
I asked Jimenez about the “doodles” that we see on the walls before their murals are completed. He explained that they’re used as a “map” for the design.
It allows us to see how big we can take it and scale the project.
We like to add sayings or quotes to the map just because we feel like it adds a little something extra to the mural. We also want to give the fans a bit of an idea or hint of who’s going to be painted. It’s fun to see people guessing whose mural is next.
TKF interview with Paul Jimenez, 11/22/2021
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Statues and museums around town
I want the statue for one team. I want to build my legacy in San Diego.
-Fernando Tatis, Jr., 2/22/2021
Tatis has his sights set on a statue at Petco Park. For now, you can visit the ones built in Gallagher Square (formerly Park at the Park) for Tony Gwynn, Jerry Coleman, and Trevor Hoffman. (Please note that Gallagher Square is usually open to the public in the off season and on away game days during the season. However, the park is closed periodically for special events.)
There is also a statue of Tony Gwynn in the park at Lake Poway. The privately-funded Tony Gwynn Memorial was designed by artist Seth Vandable. The memorial was unveiled in 2017 and honors Gwynn’s love for baseball, family, and community.
Tony Gwynn’s memory is also honored at AleSmith Brewing Company in the Miramar area of San Diego. The brewery is home to the Tony Gwynn Museum, a room devoted to a rotating collection of over 300 items of memorabilia selected by Gwynn’s wife Alicia. The collection includes a staggering array of items from Gwynn’s childhood, youth sports, collegiate playing and coaching careers at SDSU, and – of course – his illustrious career with the Padres. After visiting the museum, you may even be inclined to toast him with a San Diego Pale Ale .394 that was crafted in his honor.
AleSmith has also partnered with Jamul Casino to display some of Tony Gwynn’s uniforms and other memorabilia at Tony Gwynn’s Sports Pub.
For history buffs
The legendary Ted Williams was born and raised in San Diego and played baseball throughout his youth here, including for Hoover High School in the mid-1930s. You can wander through his childhood stomping grounds (see “Resources” below for listings of his homes and schools) and have a catch at Ted Williams Field in North Park.
Baseball has been played in San Diego since the 1870s, first on a sandlot known as Lockling Square located at 6th & Broadway downtown. The minor league Pacific Coast League (PCL) Padres played at Lane Field for 21 years (1936-1957).
Did you know that you can stand in the batter’s box, on the pitcher’s mound, or run the bases that have been precisely placed in their original locations at Lane Field Park?
During the season, fans can explore the Padres Hall of Fame near the team store behind the left field seating area. To date there are 15 inductees including players, coaches, and executives who have made key contributions to the franchise. The exhibit space at Petco Park includes a wall of plaques for honorees, historic memorabilia, photographs, and video presentations.
Diehard history buffs will also enjoy the Sullivan Baseball Research Center on the 8th floor of San Diego’s downtown Central Library (330 Park Blvd.). This baseball research collection is second only to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. The collection (not specific to Padres history) includes books, magazines, autograph scrapbooks, and photographs.
This impressive library of baseball history is available thanks to a partnership dating back to 1998 between the Ted Williams Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) and the San Diego Public Library.
Mostly here to promote fun baseball! My focus is on our experiences as fans and shared connections in the baseball community. I also produce content on social media, including vlogs and event coverage. Instagram: Michelle_baseballfan247 Facebook: Michelle Frost; Member: IBWAA, SABR