Tony Gwynn passes away at age 54


Jim McIssac/Getty images
Jim McIssac/Getty images

Well there is that saying that things happen in threes, right? I sure hope so because it’s been three weeks and each week there had been the loss of another baseball great. Two weeks ago a baseball lifer, Don Zimmer, passed away at age 83, last week we mourned the passing of former pitcher Bob Welch,who won 27 games and the Cy Young in 1990, at 57 and today we learned of the passing of Padres’ legend, the great Tony Gwynn at just 54. I don’t know if the baseball world can take another big loss next week.

Gwynn who had over 3,000 career hits and a .338 career batting average – the highest since Ted Williams retired with a career average of .344. A 15-time All-Star over his 20 year career, he spent every season with the San Diego Padres. Nicknamed “Mr. Padre” there is a statue of Gwynn out past center field next at the Padres’ Petco Park in downtown San Diego.

He won five Golden Glove Awards and seven Silver Sluggers. Gwynn also won MLB’s batting title in 1984, four straight from 1987-1989 and another four from 1994-1997.

Retiring from baseball after he 2001 season he became the head coach of the baseball team at San Diego State University. SDSU was Gwynn’s alma mater. He excelled as both a baseball player, basketball player in his time there. He would also do part-time work as an analyst for the Padres’ telecasts. He had as recently as Wednesday signed a one-year extension to continue coaching. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007.

Gwynn had been suffering from salivary gland cancer since 2009, which he attributed to his having chewed tobacco for so many years. The cancer came and went, but returned twice the last time in 2012 when Gwynn unsuccessfully under went radiation therapy to remove it.

His son, also a major league player, Tony Gwynn Jr. tweeted the news Monday,

The most famous Padre will be missed by many and mourned by the baseball world as a whole. The mark he made on baseball will not soon be forgotten.

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