Tribe’s Masterson reflects on year playing for Tony Gwynn


Tribe starter Justin Masterson played for all-time great MLB hitter Tony Gwynn at San Diego State University for one season, and to say Gwynn left an impression on him would be an understatement. Here’s what Masty told reporters about his experience with Gwynn at SDSU.

It was an incredible thing to be able to play for him for a year.

I got to be with a guy who’s played 20 years in the league, is one if not the best hitters in the game of baseball. When people are really good at things, they get an arrogance, I’m owed something.

But he taught me how to be a professional. He treated people unlike any other. Whether you were a rookie or a veteran, a freshman or a senior, he treated you the same. He treated you like a man … He treated everyone the same. That more than anything was what I took from him.

For me, it makes more of a difference to me how you are away from the field than what you do on the field.

Tony Gwynn was what you heard when you heard baseball. I didn’t even watch that much baseball, I just saw the highlights. But he was one of the names you know about.

You thought, a guy can’t be that good. To be able to(do what he did) is incredible against certain guys.

He was just incredible, had a great family. My heart goes out to the family; they’re doing with the loss of such a great man.

We’d just sit back, and he’d talk about how he’d approach me. He’d always end it with, ‘I could never hit you Masty.’ He probably would have hit .700 against me, but I appreciated the confidence. That’s how he was, he just loved the game of baseball.

Another incredible tidbit: He got drafted into the NBA. You’re thinking, ‘really?’

What I remember from him was the lifestyle: I hadn’t encountered too many guys who’d played professionally… He knew how to treat people, still signed autographs. He would do anything for anyone.

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