Jones set to partake in tailgate at Petco Park

Former Cy Young winner had recent bout with throat cancer

Jones set to partake in tailgate at Petco Park

SAN DIEGO -- Few athletes are more integral within the San Diego sports community than legendary Padres left-hander Randy Jones.

From his National League Cy Young Award-winning season in 1976 to his recent bout with throat cancer, Jones has been inundated with love from San Diego fans.

The feeling is clearly mutual. And Jones -- along with a handful of other San Diego sports icons -- will get a chance to reciprocate that love this Saturday as part of the Celebrate San Diego Tailgate, hosted by the Padres.

"It was a magical relationship that we had when I was pitching, the way the fans supported me in '75 and '76, and even after that," Jones said. "I enjoy them. I still look forward to seeing a lot of those folks."

At Saturday's tailgate event, Jones will be joined by former Padres closer Trevor Hoffman, former San Diego State running back Marshall Faulk, San Diego native and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton, former San Diego State basketball coach Steve Fisher and former Chargers wide receiver Charlie Joiner.

The event will take place in the tailgate lot outside of Petco Park, and it will feature live music, food and games.

It's the second such event the Padres have held since the Chargers departed for Los Angeles earlier this year. In February, Petco Park played host to the "Celebrate San Diego Rally," which drew 12,000 fans and featured speakers from every local team.

Jones was battling cancer at the time and could not take part as a speaker. Still, his introduction prompted chants of "Ran-dy, Ran-dy," from fans. In early May, he was declared cancer-free. On Saturday, he'll be an active participant.

"The response I got that day was special," Jones said. "This one, again, we've got some great stars coming. We produced some great players in a lot of different sports. Let's not take that for granted. The Chargers may have left, but it's still a tight-knit sports community here."

As if to re-emphasize that point, the Padres will play San Diego State's football game against Air Force on the big screen in the tailgate lot. Gates will open at noon, with the tailgate party itself beginning at 2 p.m. before the Padres' 5:40 p.m. PT game against the Rockies.

AJ Cassavell covers the Padres for Follow him on Twitter @ajcassavell. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.