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Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn has died at 54

Jun 16, 2014, 11:26 AM EDT

This is terrible news: Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn has died at 54.

Gwynn had been fighting cancer, which had first manifested itself as a malignant growth inside his right cheek, for four years. Gwynn attributed the cancer to years of smokeless tobacco use. Just yesterday, Jim Salisbury of wrote this story about Gwynn, his son Tony Gwynn, Jr. and their relationship as Gwynn battled cancer. Gwynn Jr. said it had gotten tougher of late, and that his father’s condition had deteriorated.

Gwynn was one of the greatest hitters in baseball history. He posted a .338 career batting average over 20 seasons, collecting batting titles in eight of those years. In 1994 he was flirting with .400 when the season was halted due to the strike, leaving him at .394. He finished with 3,141 hits, which ranks 19th on the all-time list. He was an All-Star 15 times and won five gold gloves. His Padres teams made the playoffs three times in his career. He was part of NL Pennant winning teams in 1984 and 1998.

[MORE: What they’re saying about Tony Gwynn]

After he retired, Gwynn coached his alma mater, San Diego State University. Many future major leaguers went through that program during Gwynn’s tenure which lasted from 2003 until his death.

Gwynn was elected to the Hall of Fame with over 97% of the vote in 2007, his first year of eligibility. His number 19 jersey was retired by the Padres, the only team for which he played.

[MORE: Gwynn’s Hall of Fame career, by the numbers]

  1. The Cub Den - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    One of the greats. He will be missed. RIP, Mr. Gwynn.


  2. raysfan1 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:30 AM

    RIP. He will be missed.

  3. nbjays - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    Another of the great ones gone way too early!

    RIP Tony!

  4. beepbeepbeeplgb - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    what a bummer. i always liked him.

  5. johnnysoda - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    Sad news. Rest in peace, Mr. Padre.

  6. rbj1 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    Wow. Didn’t know he had cancer. RIP. Sad to die so young.

  7. Kevin S. - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Eff cancer.

  8. dexterismyhero - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Wow. I knew he was getting worse, but it really hits you when you read something like this. God bless you Tony and god bless your family.

  9. chc4 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Wow, I forgot he had been ill. Time flies… I remember when the Braves were in the old NL West and he would terrorize our young staff in the ’80s & 90’s. Very sad.

  10. papacrick - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:33 AM

    Loved this guy growing up and wasn’t even a Padre fan. Such a classy guy and arguably the greatest hitter of all time. So sad to see anyone die this young.

  11. seahawksbmx - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:34 AM

    Way too young. RIP to one of the greatest hitters the game has seen.

  12. icanspeel - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:36 AM

    RIP Tony Gwynn. Great baseball player, even greater person. One of the nicest guys you could ever come across. Will be sadly missed.

  13. dollasnsense - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    Always loved, never forgotten, forever Mr. Padre

    RIP #19

  14. vanmorrissey - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    Barely keeping it together both him and Jerry C. passing so suddenly. Truthfully, I don’t see how the Padres can play today. I know they will but the greatest, yes the greatest, Padre if not player in San Diego sports history. We met him years ago and even then he knew what he wanted to do in retirement is to coach but basically teach young kids. Just a true gentleman. Totally devestating.

    • mybrunoblog - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      The current Padres players probably didn’t know Gwynn very well. I’m sure they’re upset but theyll play tonight. Probably much harder for long time team employees like front office people, ballpark guys, grounds crew, clubhouse guys, broadcasters, media etc. Those guys knew Tony. Either way a heartbreaking day for the Padres and all baseball fans.

  15. asimonetti88 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:37 AM

    wow… WAY too young. Terrible news. Condolences to the family..

  16. yahmule - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    This one really hits me hard. Great player and a great man.

  17. mdpickles - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:39 AM

    It was a privilege to watch that man play baseball.

  18. jetsfaninindy - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    The man was a great hitter. Sorry to hear that.

  19. Rich Stowe - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    wow….way too young….once again cancer wins…

    RIP Mr. Gwynn

  20. sabatimus - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:41 AM

    Damn. I loved watching this guy play. I hope his son deals with this as best he can.

  21. marc meyer - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    A Class act. One of the highest honors is to be called “good people.” Tony Gwynn, was good people. RIP Mr. Padre.

  22. stex52 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:43 AM

    A hitter of awesome talents and a great work ethic. The man was a hitting machine. And I can’t think of the Padres without his name coming to mind.

    Thoughts are with his family.

  23. fordmandalay - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    Thanks, Tony.

  24. mungman69 - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    A great player.

  25. shadowshand - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    So, tell me who are the douche nozzles who give post condolences and best wishes to his family a thumbs down? Sad.

    • Tony Sottile - Jun 16, 2014 at 11:48 AM

      I agree – unbelieveable.

    • tigersfandan - Jun 16, 2014 at 12:35 PM

      It’s time to get rid of the thumbs for good.

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