Today while I was going on with my daily life I received some news that froze me in the middle of what I was doing. Hall of Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn passed away this morning at the age of 54 years of age after a long battle with cancer. Now this personally hit me pretty hard. Being born in 1992 Tony Gwynn is debatably the best hitter I have ever seen in my short lifetime. The list of accolades that Gwynn accomplished in his 20 year career with the Padres could go on for ever, but for time sake here are just a few.
Tony Gwynn was an Eight time batting champion in the National League. This is tied for the most of all time with the great Honus Wagner. He also led in hits for seven seasons, and this is only tied with Pete Rose. Gwynn was also a fifteen time Allstar in his twenty year career. As well as the stunning numbers with the bat Gwynn also wasn’t afraid to flash a little bit of leather. Gwynn had 5 gold glove awards in his career as well. Although all of these accomplishments are nothing shy of spectacular “Mr. Padre” had 19 consecutive seasons of hitting above a .300 average. This one stands out to me especially when I was younger watching his games I never knew how significant this was. I would be very surprised to see a man hit above .300 for 19 straight seasons in my lifetime again. Another part of this incredible feat was his 1994 season in which he hit .394, which was the highest in the National League since 1930. That same season there was a strike so he possibly could have been above .400. All of these feat led him to a career .338 batting average as well membership to baseballs sacred 3,000 hit club. He finished his career with 3,141 hits. Gwynn was rewarded for his career with a first ballot election to the baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. His %97.6 voting it best for seventh all time in baseball history.
Gwynn had an impact on the field, but his impact off the field was also huge. So huge that there is a statue outside of the Petco Park fence of Gwynn. As well as being an impact figure on his children’s life, he also spent part of his post playing career as the San Diego State University baseball coach. Along with this he got to spend time watching his son Tony Gwynn Jr., who is currently a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.
Most people remember Tony Gwynn for his feats on the field, but closer friends remember him for his smile and infectious laugh. He was loved on and off the field by all, and friends such as teammate Joe Carter said it would he hard to say anything bad about him. Baseball lost a true icon today in “Mr. Padre.”, Tony Gwynn.