Remembering the 1984 San Diego Padres

Credit: AP Photo

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Credit: AP Photo


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 a complete 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 at 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 eight-time National League batting champion. A first-ballot Hall-of-Fame member with 97.6 percent of the vote in 2007, Gwynn went in alongside 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). The San Diego Clippers drafted Gwynn 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 every day. 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 ballplayers should be ashamed!

It reminds me of a stat I recently saw. Mike Trout(647), at the age of 24, recorded 223 more career strikeouts than Tony Gwynn (434) did his whole 19-year career! Amazing, and Trout is considered the best player in the game — how the game has changed.


3 thoughts on “Remembering the 1984 San Diego Padres

  1. I just happened upon this article and I’ve got those memories coming back too. I was a 21-yr old punk rocker and surfer from Pacific Beach. I was also a pretty good pitcher and have loved baseball all my life.
    I remember traffic just stopped on Ingraham St where I lived and people getting out of their cars to celebrate with the other motorists. Neighbors all running out of their apartments and houses. The whole city was partying!
    What I remember the most was Tony Gwynn. Seemingly every damn day, 3 for 5, 3 for 5, 4 for 5, 2 for 4, and on and on. I’ve always been a big box score nut and every morning I’d have to get the San Diego Union and I’d go straight to the boxes and straight to Tony Gwynn’s line. Even if I already knew what he had! He was truly one of the greatest hitters of all time. Top 10, easily.
    I miss surfing Blacks Beach every day at dawn, and I miss watching Tony Gwynn hit the ball wherever he wanted to put it. He could hit it into a bucket.
    Cheers, Joey Coma.

  2. Great write-up. Brings back a lot of memories. I went to more games that year than any year before or after, or ever will.

    Yesterday I watched the 5th game of the playoffs with the Cubs (on Youtube). I never saw it on TV before as I was fortunate to be in the front row, right above Florence Henderson before she sang the National Anthem (the tickets for that game were easier to get because no one thought they would make it to game 5 after losing the first 2).

    To me, the smash by Tony Gwynn through/over Ryne Sandberg was more important than Garvey’s HR the game before, yet Steverino gets all the cred.

    In fact, Garvey was average at best. He had about a net 1.5 WAR over 5 years! That is 0.3 WAR per year, as the highest paid player. Yet he batted 3rd or 4th! This seems eerily similar to Hosmer………

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