Right Field- Tony Gwynn
The immortal Mr. Padre was a key member to the 1998 Padres.
He provided that veteran leadership and was the solid rock in the middle of the lineup. At this point in Gwynn’s career, he wasn’t afraid to turn it loose every once in a while.
Gwynn, for the first time in his career, was in the middle of three consecutive seasons hitting multiple home runs. From 1997-1999, Tony Gwynn hit 43 home runs total. Not a huge number by any means, but consider Gwynn hit 92 home runs his other 16 years.
1998 was the pinnacle of Tony Gwynn’s power years, as proven by his grand slam off David Wells deep into the upper deck at Yankee stadium. That home run in the World Series was Tony Gwynn’s favorite hit ever. He told me that himself – I asked him. Having the pleasure of meeting this man and talking baseball with him was an absolute joy. His infectious laugh, the way he looked right into your eyes when he spoke to you. A true god among men.
Tony Gwynn hit .321 in 1998 with 16 home runs and 69 runs batted in in 1998.
He played in 127 games, as his chronic knee issues were a constant battle for him. The man never complained about it though and played when he could. To play right field with the injury issues he dealt with shows the type of player Gwynn was. He never requested to play first base, and we all know he flat-out refused to play for any other team, specifically an American League team where he could DH. Could you imagine if the Padres were an American League team? Gwynn could have gotten 500 more hits, easily.
The 15-time MLB 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. He was a first ballot Hall of Fame inductee, with 97.6 percent of the vote in 2007. Gwynn went into the Hall of Fame with Cal Ripken Jr that year.
3,141 career hits as a Padre is a record that will stay for a long while, if not forever.
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