SAN DIEGO — What had seemed like an off-the-cuff remark on a radio show helped end two months of fighting over how to make the Padres' best player happy.
Stranger things may have happened to Tony Gwynn, but they have not made him as rich. Tuesday afternoon, the Padres ended a salary haggle by giving Gwynn a $500,000 raise.
It wasn't what he wanted, but it was more than he expected. The Padres still did not guarantee his contract for 1991 and 1992, at $1.6 million a year, as he asked. But they made sure that when the contract runs out after the 1990 season, and Gwynn becomes a free agent, he'll remember their phone number.
The details--as ironed out in a two-hour meeting Tuesday between John Boggs, Gwynn's agent, and Padre President Chub Feeney--will give Gwynn:
--A $200,000 bonus "for services rendered," Boggs said.
--A $200,000 raise this season, increasing Gwynn's salary to $1 million.
--A $100,000 raise next season, pushing his 1989 salary to $1 million.
Added to this, in quiet action that took place last week, Gwynn's 1990 option year was picked up and guaranteed at $1 million.
"I'm very, very happy with it," Gwynn said. "The Padres showed me good faith that I'll remember. When it comes time to become a free agent (after the 1990 season), I'll definitely not forget this."
The negotiations got a jump start last week during the "Padre Talk" show with Feeney and host Ted Leitner on KFMB radio. One woman called and asked Feeney to tear up Gwynn's existing contact and give him a new one. Feeney said if Gwynn's agent was listening, he should call him and re-start negotiations. Boggs did.