by Mario "Game" Granata
Growing up in the 1980s I was an avid baseball fan and played the game as well. Although the years would bring new players and different outcomes, the single constant was one man, Tony Gwynn. Gwynn, as many have stated, exemplified the greatness of the game, and the class that he exhibited was inspiring and breath taking. A closer look at the stats shows how truly great he was on the field as well.
Tony Gwynn, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, was a pure hitter in the truest sense of the definition. He amassed over 3,000 hits in his illustrious career, and nearly 2,400 of those hits were singles. Even more impressive was the fact that he only struck out 434 times in over 10,000 plate appearances. Think about that for a moment. 4% of the time when Gwynn stepped to the plate, was he relegated to walking back to the dugout with a K. He also walked 790 times in his 20 year career. In a game that praises players for failing 7 out of 10 times at the plate, Tony Gwynn was never an easy out, and gave many pitchers fits on how to pitch to him.
Much has been made of the recent passing of the tremendous person he was off the field, and that his baseball accomplishments pale in comparison to the man, and in a game that has been marred with PEDs and players cheating to get ahead, the one true fact that remains is that we will never see a player like Gwynn again. Could he have gone to other teams to compete for a title? Sure he could have, but it remains that he was a Padre, through and through, and he loved the city of San Diego and wanted to win there. Imagine that. A player, staying with an organization for 20 years, and being a productive part of that organization. We as baseball fans will never see this again, so to be front and center when Gwynn was in his playing days, was a sight to behold.
We here at Hashtag Sports as a whole were and will continue to be fans of Gwynn and his accomplishments and what he was able to bring to the game of baseball. Class, Respect, and Consistency that will never be matched again. Thank you, Tony, for all the memories.
For his comprehensive stats, click here.