Jun 16, 2014, 10:08 PM EDT
Since the sad news of Tony Gwynn’s passing came down this morning, we have heard countless tidbits and anecdotes about his brilliance as a hitter. If you’re like me, you can’t get enough of them. Joe Posnanski wrote about Gwynn’s legacy and artistry in his latest piece for NBCSports.com:
See, for most Major League hitters – even the best of hitters – hitting is some brew of instinct and technique and muscle memory and something unspoken. It’s a physical act and it’s a mental act, but it isn’t generally an application of imagination. The cliché is irrepressible, you’ve heard it a million times: Nothing in sports is as difficult as hitting a baseball. The greatest hitters have reduced the difficulty to platitudes because, well, you don’t talk about batting. You DO it.
“See the ball, hit the ball,” Tony Perez used to say.
“Empty your mind,” George Brett used to say.
“You can’t think and hit at the same time,” Yogi Berra used to say.
Gwynn did, though He thought and hit at the same time. He would not empty his mind. He did not only see the ball (and hit it), he would see the pitcher preparation, see the smallest hitch or twist in his delivery, see the openings in the defense, see the ball release from the pitcher’s hand, see the way the baseball turned, see angles and lines and geometric shapes like parabolas. I once asked him how closely he noticed the defensive alignment. “If the second baseman was one inch more to the left or right,” he told me, “I knew.”
It’s a wonderful tribute. Make sure to set aside a few moments and read it.
Remembering the great Tony Gwynn
- 2015 Preview: Atlanta Braves 4
- David Ortiz: “Nobody in MLB history has been tested for PEDs more than me” 88
- 2015 Preview: Chicago Cubs 13
- Unsigned 2014 No. 1 overall pick Brady Aiken undergoes Tommy John surgery 55
- 2015 Preview: Seattle Mariners 15
- Cardinals add “OT” patch for Oscar Taveras 76
- 2015 Preview: Pittsburgh Pirates 13
- 2015 Preview: San Diego Padres 22
- Ex-Cardinals outfielder Curt Ford was assaulted in St. Louis and told to “go back to Ferguson” (115)
- College baseball player cut after making offensive tweet about Mo’ne Davis (115)
- Mo’ne Davis says college ballplayer who wrote an offensive tweet about her deserves a second chance (88)
- David Ortiz: “Nobody in MLB history has been tested for PEDs more than me” (88)
- Cardinals add “OT” patch for Oscar Taveras (76)