After battling cancer for the last few years Hall of Famer and San Diego Padres great Tony Gwynn has passed away. He was just 54 years old.
Gwynn has been battling salivary gland cancer for some time; something he attributed a smokeless tobacco habit to. Over the last four years he had undergone multiple surgeries to remove cancerous tumors from his mouth. His health got to a point to where he had to take a leave of absence from coaching his alma mater’s baseball team (San Diego State) in March so he could seek additional treatment.
“…He was an icon for San Diego Padres fans, never more evident than on Induction Day of 2007, when tens of thousands of Tony’s most appreciative fans filled Cooperstown for his Hall of Fame speech. We extend our deepest sympathies to Alicia and the entire Gwynn family,” said Jane Forbes Clark, Hall of Fame chairman of the board (via USAToday).
Over the course of his course of his 20-year career he became known as one of the greatest pure hitters t ever play the game; the best since the Ted Williams days. He never batted below .309 during his career and finished with a career batting average of .338–the best since Williams played.
To further put his career in to perspective over the course of 20 seasons he only struck out 434 times; a number that is unheard of in today’s game (Ichiro Suzuki has 899 in 15 seasons).[USAToday]