What If Wright Is Our Tony Gwynn? (Poll)

Stephen Dunn

Forgive me as I indulge my curiosity in the wake of the David Wright contract extension, namely what exactly this fanbase values most dearly.

I have a simple poll question for a fanbase that is no-doubt giddy from a seemingly happy ending to the David Wright contract extension hysteria of the last few days:

How would you feel if, when David Wright retires, he is to the Mets what Tony Gwynn is to the Padres?

Now, let me unpack my thinking for you. I know, I represented the question as simple; I lied.

On the one hand, that seems like an overwhelmingly positive outcome. That's because Gwynn is, of course, a shining beacon that represents everything good about Padres baseball. Aside from the fact that he's a fifteen-time All Star who won eight batting titles, Gwynn has become an ambassador for the franchise as well as the city of San Diego. He has a plaza that bears his name outside Petco Park, he dons a friar on his bronze cap up in Cooperstown, and he's pretty much become synonymous with all things Padres. In short, he's Mr. Padre.

That's part of what makes this seven-year extension such a joyous event for Mets fans. As Matthew Callan pointed out much more eloquently yesterday, this franchise — and this fanbase — doesn't have that player. We have our great ones, but no wire-to-wire Met, who perhaps wore the 'C' (which Wright reportedly will starting next season), who resides in the pantheon among the other franchise icons; the Gwynns and Ripkens and Schmidts and {cringe} Jeters.

The unforeseen downside to this question has to do with what Gwynn specifically accomplished on the field. Or to be more accurate, what he didn't. Namely, Gwynn never won a World Series. And what I'm getting at here is that when you measure the shape of Gwynn's career against the ebb and flow of the Padres' records by season, it's fair to say that there were windows where the Padres may have arguably been better off trading Gwynn for a package of high-level prospects and rebuilding.

Now that statement is only possible thanks to the omniscience of hindsight. At the time, obviously the Padres felt their best bet was to stay the course with their franchise cornerstone and continue re-shuffling the players around him. And maybe they were right; they did make it to the World Series in 1998, though they were swept into submission by the Yankees.

Either way, I wonder how a Padres fan would treat those those years in retrospect. More specifically, I wonder, if handed the keys to the DeLorean, would said Padres fan go back and trade Gwynn, knowing he would ultimately never deliver them a World Series championship?

And more to the point, if you somehow procured those keys and found out that the Mets will not win a championship until after Wright has retired, would you trade him and forgo that long-awaited franchise icon for a shot at the brass ring? Vote below.

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