TONY GWYNN- RIGHT FIELD
What can be said about the greatest Padres player of all time. Without question he will always be regarded as Mr. Padre. He is deeply missed and his passing was an absolute loss for the whole Major League Baseball community.
Not only for his playing career and statistics, but for the man he was. Tony Gwynn was a great man, and it had nothing to do with the game of baseball. I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Gwynn on several occasions, and on our last meeting he actually remembered my name. That was the type of man he was, unselfish to the core.
The 15-time all-star and five time gold glove recipient, is an icon in San Diego. He was also a seven time Silver Slugger, a Roberto Clemente award winner (1999) and an 8-time National League batting champion. A first ballot hall-of-fame member with 97.6 percent of the vote in 2007, Gwynn went in with Cal Ripken Jr.
His 3,141 hits as a Padre, is a record that should last forever. In this day and age of free agency, I have a hard time thinking any Padres player will have a 19 year run in San Diego and put up those type of numbers. Just simply not possible.
Gwynn’s connections to San Diego go back to his college years where he was a stand-out basketball and baseball player for the San Diego State Aztecs. Gwynn still holds the record at the school for career assists (590) and assists in a game (18), and season (221). Gwynn was drafted by the San Diego Clippers in the 1981 NBA draft in the 10th round. Talk about a man destined to play in San Diego.
1984 was the first year for Tony Gwynn to play everyday. He won the National League batting title for the first time with a .351 batting average. He struck out an unbelievable 23 times that year in 606 at bats. Modern day ball players should be ashamed!
In fact it reminds me of a stat I recently saw. Mike Trout (647) at the age of 24 has recorded 223 more career strike outs than Tony Gwynn (434) did his whole 19 year career! Amazing, and Trout is considered the best player in the game. My how the game has changed.
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