In the Latest Leaders here on MLBlogs, I got #19. I am excited about this for two reasons: 1) I think this is the best ranking I’ve ever had, and 2) I get to dedicate it to a very special Padres player.
I wasn’t a Padres fan when this player was with the Padres. It’s too bad, really. He was an incredible player. Thankfully, I have been able to hear tons of stories and the impact he made in San Diego was huge. Though I never saw him play, just the mention of his name sends thrills through this Padres fan. In the tradition started by Jimmy, I have the great privilege of dedicating this ranking to #19, Tony Gwynn.
Anthony Keith Gwynn was born and raised in California. In college (San Diego State University), he was not only a phenominal baseball player, but he was also an excellent basketball player. In fact, he was drafted by the San Diego Padres and the San Diego Clippers on the same day! Thankfully, he chose baseball.
Gwynn made his major league debut on July 19, 1982 for the Padres. His first major league hit was a double. His last game with the Padres was October 7, 2001. He played 20 seasons with the Padres, spending his whole career with San Diego. Naturally, he was offered a lot more money to go to another team, but he stuck with the Padres. He went to two World Series with the Padres, but lost both of them.
Tony was not a home run hitter. He never had more than 17 homers in a season. But he was an excellent contact hitter. He finished his career with a batting average of .338 and 3,141 hits. In 9,288 at-bats, he had 790 walks and only 434 strikeouts. He also had 319 stolen bases.
Tony was selected to 15 All-Star teams. An outfielder, he earned five Gold Gloves. He was also a seven-time Silver Slugger award winner. He has won a Roberto Clemente Award, a Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, and a Branch Rickey Award.
In 2007, Tony was elected to Baseball Hall of Fame, earning 532 votes out of 545. He was inducted to the Hall on July 29, 2007, with Cal Ripken Jr. The Padres revealed a statue in honor of Tony at Petco Park’s Park in the Park.
Tony was an incredible player for the Padres in his 20-year career. He will always be a legend in Padres history. Today, he keeps busy with coaching SDSU’s baseball team, working the Padres’ TV broadcast once in a while, and enjoying his family. Tony Gwynn has left a huge impact on San Diego. He will always be Mr. Padre.
Thank you so much to all my readers for getting me to where I am. Without you, this blog has no purpose. Thank you so much for keeping up with Padres baseball here at Unfinshed Business. You guys are great! I hope you all have a great weekend! GO PADRES!!
(photo credits: cache.daylife.com, mlb.com, yogibrewer.mlblogs.com, me)