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Gwynn Wants to End Career With Padres

December 03, 1987|MARC APPLEMAN | Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO — Padre outfielder Tony Gwynn, who Wednesday won his second consecutive Gold Glove award, used the occasion to make public his desire to finish his career with the Padres.

Gwynn and his agent, John Boggs, met with Padre President Chub Feeney for about 15 minutes Wednesday to discuss Gwynn's request for a contract extension.

"If I didn't think I deserved it, I wouldn't be here," said Gwynn, who has two years and an option year guaranteed on his contract, which calls for five years through 1989, and an option for 1990. "It boils down to satisfying yourself. I'm not looking to renegotiate what I have. I'm looking to be part of the Padres' future for six, eight years. I just want to stay here. I want to play my entire career here."

After the meeting, Gwynn said he "came away . . . thinking maybe something can be worked out. He (Feeney) treated me fairly. Today was just the start. We'll talk in the future."

In a brief statement issued through the Padre office, Feeney said: "We did meet. We're giving some thought to the situation, but we've made no commitment."

When told of Feeney's statement, Gwynn said: "That's baseball. I knew going in, it wouldn't be, 'Yeah.' "

Boggs was optimistic.

"He (Feeney) was very receptive to the fact that the Padres want Tony to remain a Padre for the rest of his career," said Boggs, who started representing Gwynn in October, 1986. Boggs is also the chief executive officer of Garvey Marketing Group. "It was a positive meeting. He (Feeney) said he'd consider some options and be back to us by Jan. 1."

During a press conference Wednesday, Gwynn said he was put off at the way Padre General Manager Jack McKeon told Boggs after the season that although he thought Gwynn deserved a contract extension, it wasn't team policy to give a contract for more than three years and therefore, he didn't think the Padres could offer him one. Gwynn was prepared to talk to Kroc, but McKeon advised him to talk to Feeney.

Gwynn said money isn't his primary reason for wanting a contract extension. Gwynn earns about $700,000 a year, which is less than some other superstars in baseball, but said his salary "doesn't bother me."

"I like it here," Gwynn said. "My family likes it here. If it's dollars I have to give up, I'm more than willing to do so."

Gwynn--who attended San Diego State before joining the Padres--doesn't want to become a free agent. And he said his request has nothing to do with his financial situation, which included filing for bankruptcy during last season.

"A lot of people think that, but it didn't," he said. "We thought about it for a year and a half."

Instead, Gwynn said he wants security and appreciation. And that's why Gwynn--wearing a gray pinstriped suit--went out of character during the press conference.

"I'm not the type who likes to brag about what I do," Gwynn said. "All the stuff I'm doing today has been calculated. If you don't say it about yourself, no one will."

Gwynn also said Wednesday he's still angry over finishing eighth in the voting for National League Most Valuable Player, although he thought Cub outfielder Andre Dawson deserved to win.

"To finish eighth is a slap in the face," said Gwynn, who had an incentive clause in his contract if he finished in the top five in the voting. "I should have finished in the top five. I was really angry this year. I was really disappointed. I was disgusted. I make no bones about that. This year, I think I had a great year. I can't live with it."

Gwynn led the National League in hitting with a career-high .370 average, which was the highest average in the league in 39 years. He led the National League in hits with 218, was second in stolen bases with 56, triples with 13 and on-base percentage at .447. He was fourth in runs scored with 119 and tied for eighth in doubles with 36. And he won his second straight Gold Glove award.

But the Padres finished last in the Western Division. Gwynn doesn't play in a major media market. And probably most important, Gwynn hit only 7 home runs and drove in only 54 runs.

"I'd like to hit some more home runs," Gwynn said. "It will open a lot of people's eyes as to what kind of player I am. If I hit home runs and drive in runs, all of sudden people will say I'm a complete player. I don't think there's anyone in the National League who has done what I've done. Sooner or later, someone has to recognize you."

Gwynn said the "selfish" part of him wants to hit more home runs, but he plans to continue doing what he does best--making contact.

"I can help the club more," said Gwynn, who prefers batting in the second position to leadoff or third. "If I go up there and try to hit home runs and don't, I think the rest of my game will suffer."

Gwynn was just as surprised by winning the Gold Glove as by his finish in the MVP voting.

"For me it means a lot," Gwynn said. "It means more than the batting title. When I came up everyone said I could hit. I hit .370 and that didn't surprise a lot of people. But winning two Gold Gloves, I didn't think I was capable of that when I first came up.

"I'm 27 and I think I can get better," Gwynn said. "If it works out here, it's great. But if it doesn't, it's not the end of the world."

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