Tony Gwynn Has Died at Age 54
Major League Baseball has lost one of its all-time greatest hitters. Tony Gwynn, known to many fans as 'Mr. Padre', lost his battle to cancer at the age of 54.
The San Diego Padres confirmed that Gwynn, who still holds 17 franchise records, passed away on Monday. For most baseball fans, the lefty was the best pure hitter of their lifetime. You'd have to go back 75 years to Ted Williams in order to find a career batting average higher than Gwynn's .338.
The 15-time All-Star and 8-time National League batting champion joined the illustrious 3,000 hit club in 1999 with a single against the Montreal Expos.
The first-ballot Hall of Famer received the 7th highest vote of all-time as he was selected on 97.61% of the ballots in 2007. For many of us, he'll be remembered for his incredible natural talents in an era where many players were beginning to take performance enhancers. Even the most prominent PED users didn't come close to his offensive accomplishments, which included a career-high .394 average in 1994.
Since his playing days, Gwynn had been coaching his alma mater, San Diego State, where he agreed to start as an unpaid volunteer following his final year with the Padres. His son, Tony Gwynn Jr., plays for the Philadelphia Phillies and the two have maintained a special relationship over the years. In fact, CSN Philly profiled that bond just a day before the father's death.
I always try to get in an I love you,” Gwynn, Jr. told CSN Philly. “For a while that was uncomfortable for me, I don’t know why. But since 2010, it hasn’t been uncomfortable. It’s something I want to make sure I get in because you never know what’s going to happen.
Hopefully, the 31-year-old outfielder was able to share that final Father's Day message.