28
Mar
10

Muhammad Ali visits Padres

By: Dan Hayes —  March 8th, 2010

PEORIA, Ariz. —- Nick Hundley leaned forward to snap a picture. Mike Adams and Aaron Cunningham brought boxing gloves to be signed. Numerous other Padres lined up for an opportunity to shake hands or be pictured with an all-time great.
The buzz created by Muhammad Ali’s appearance in the Padres’ clubhouse Monday was unavoidably loud. The three-time heavyweight champion stopped in as part of a 45-minute event for the Athletes For Hope foundation, one that many players won’t soon forget.
“This was a different shook up,” said Cunningham, who successfully got Ali’s autograph after purchasing a pair of boxing gloves Sunday night. “You know how people just joke around and say (the phrase) ‘The man, the myth, the legend,’ He really is the man, the myth, the legend. It was really cool and it was something I’ll never forget.”
Throughout his father’s career and his own, Tony Gwynn Jr. has had an opportunity to meet famous baseball players and other sports luminaries. Prior to Monday, Gwynn said meeting Magic Johnson was a personal highlight. But Ali’s presence easily topped that, Gwynn said.
“This is the top until I ever meet Michael Jordan,” Gwynn said. “I’m typically not star struck but I was today. I’m taking that picture home and I’m going to show it to my wife and have that for my kids when they get older.”
Having seen some of Ali’s fights, and grown up during his career, manager Bud Black said he particularly enjoyed the moment as well.
“Any time you meet a legend,” Black said, “you feel the presence, the aura. It was cool.”

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