The sports week got off to a somber start Monday, as news broke that Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn died, succumbing to the salivary gland cancer he has been battling since 2010. His 20-year major league career included 3,141 hits, 1,138 RBI and a .338 batting average, all in a Padres uniform.
Known as one of the greatest hitters, and people, in the game, Gwynn made a positive impact wherever he went, most recently as the baseball coach at San Diego State.
Gwynn was 54.
MLB Network Radio analyst and five-time MLB All-Star Steve Sax, who was an All-Star teammate of Gwynn’s and a long-time opponent, remembered Mr. Padre.
He was just one of the greatest hitters I ever had the pleasure of playing against. He was a guy that you knew was just the consummate professional. He was always so well prepared. He was a guy that was humble. He really personified what class was in the game. Off the field, just a wonderful person. This is just a huge loss for baseball and for his family. He was just a wonderful man.
Current A’s manager Bob Melvin, who played for the Giants in the ’80s, remembered facing Gwynn and how tough of an out he was.
“You just tried to mix it up and move it around and try not to give him the same look because there was no one way to pitch him.” Melvin said. “He could handle balls in. He could stay inside them. He was a high-ball hitter. A low-ball hitter. He was just a guy you knew was going to get his share of hits, you just wanted to limit the damage.”
Said Mad Dog Sports Radio‘s Adam Schein: “Tony Gwynn. The single greatest pure hitter I ever saw in a Major League Baseball batters box … I thought Tony Gwynn was the absolute best.”
The baseball world also took to Twitter to remember their icon.