Tony Gwynn, the Padres legend and eight-time NL batting champion, passed away today at age 54 following a battle with cancer. Gwynn is survived by his wife Alicia and his children Anisha and Tony Jr., who plays for the Phillies. (Just yesterday, CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury wrote a touching Father’s Day piece on the relationship between the Gwynn men.)
The elder Gwynn was drafted by the Padres out of San Diego State in the third round of the 1981 draft and he went on to spend his entire 20-year career with the Friars. Gwynn quickly established himself as one of the best pure hitters in the game’s history and was the model of consistency over his career, finishing with a .338/.388/.459 slash line, 3141 hits (19th all-time), 135 homers and 319 stolen bases. Gwynn twice led the Padres to the NL pennant, and also collected 15 All-Star Game appearances, seven Silver Slugger Awards and five Gold Gloves.
After retiring, Gwynn remained in the game as both a part-time broadcaster and the head baseball coach at San Diego State. Gwynn was a shoo-in for Cooperstown and garnered one of the highest vote totals in history (532 of 545 votes) for a first-time inductee when he entered the Hall Of Fame in 2007.
We at MLBTR all loved watching Gwynn play and greatly admired a man who by all accounts was one of baseball’s true gentlemen. We send our condolences to Gwynn’s family and many friends and teammates.