Cancer has stricken many in our lives, and in the world of baseball it has taken the life of one of the greatest hitters that ever lived, 20-year veteran of the Padres, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn at the age of 54. He won a record eight National League batting championships and gained acclaim as one of baseball’s most passionate students of the art of hitting
Gwynn’s use of chewing tobacco was the cited reason in his eyes towards his diagnosis of oral cancer. Gwynn died at a hospital in suburban San Diego (Poway). Gwynn was one of the few athletes to play an entire career play for one team, his hometown San Diego Padres.
He had a career .338 batting average and he has a career total of 3,141 hits. He also won eight NL batting titles, many of his hits singles as he was always revered as a “singles hitter.” His bat earned the name “7 Grains of Pain” because of his swing and the nickname “Mr. Padre” for his stint with the Padres.
His son Tony Gwynn Jr. currently plays for the Philadelphia Phillies and tweeted out this morning what his HOF father meant to him.
Today I lost my Dad, my best friend and my mentor. I'm gonna miss u so much pops. I'm gonna do everything in my power to continue to...— Tony Gwynn Jr. (@tonygwynnjr) June 16, 2014
Make u proud!— Tony Gwynn Jr. (@tonygwynnjr) June 16, 2014
His finest career moment was playing in the 1998 World Series, although the Padres lost the mighty and overpowering Yankees, Gwynn hit a HR off of SP David Wells in Game 1 of that World Series. Another big moment for him was as the winning run in the 1994 All-Star Game.
There also is a big question mark in his career due to the 1994 Players Strike, Gwynn was hitting .394 and had an opportune chance to finish the ’94 season as the 1st .400 hitter in MLB since Red Sox OF and San Diego native Ted Williams.
Nevertheless, Gwynn had an unreal 1994 season and 7 years later in 2001, he along with Oriole SS Cal Ripken retired and fittingly they were both voted 1st ballot Hall of Famer’s in 2007.
Since his career ended he coached baseball at San Diego State, in his stint they reached the College World Series led by Nationals SP Stephen Strasburg. The 15-time All-Star Mr. Padre will be remembered in the city of San Diego as one of their own that became great!
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