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Tony Gwynn’s Hall of Fame career, by the numbers

Jun 16, 2014, 12:34 PM EDT

One of the greatest hitters for average the game has ever seen, Tony Gwynn spent his entire 20-year big-league career with the Padres before retiring in 2001. Here’s a look at some of his career highlights, by the numbers:

- Eight batting titles, tied for second most in major league history with Honus Wagner (Ty Cobb had 11). He’s the only player to win four in a row (1994-97) since Rogers Hornsby won six straight from 1920-25.

- Excluding his 54-game rookie season in 1982, he hit better than .309 every year of his career, topping out at .394 in 110 games in the strike year of 1994 (one of his few completely healthy seasons in the second half of his career, he missed just one of the Padres’ 111 games that season and was in position to make a run at a .400 campaign).

- Finished his career with 3,141 hits, putting him in 19th place all-time.

- His .338 average is the fourth highest among players with 3,000 hits, trailing Cobb (.366), Tris Speaker (.345) and Nap Lajoie (who edged Gwynn .33820 to .33818).

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

- Since the beginning of the expansion era in 1961, his .338 average is easily the highest among all players with 2,000 hits. The next highest averages are the .328 marks of Wade Boggs and Rod Carew.

- Struck out just 434 times in 10,232 plate appearances. It’s the lowest total of anyone with at least 2,000 hits since the beginning of the expansion era.

- Never struck out more than 40 times in a season. In 1995, he fanned a total of 15 times in 577 plate appearances.

- 15 All-Star Games, including 11 voted in as a starter. Only nine players had more All-Star seasons. For players who debuted after 1970, Gwynn is tied for second with Ozzie Smith behind Cal Ripken Jr.’s 19 appearances.

- First in the National League in WAR in 1987 and also first among position players in 1986.

[MORE: Gwynn was one of the game's most-loved players]

- Led the NL in hits seven times.

- Finished in the top 10 in the NL in OBP 10 times, leading the league in 1994, and finished in the top 10 in slugging twice (10th in 1994, ninth in 1997).

- Even including his partial seasons at the beginning and end of his career, his worst ever OPS+ was a 105. He was never anything less than an above average hitter.

- Seven Silver Sluggers

- Five Gold Gloves

- Stole as many as 56 bases in a season, topping 30 four times. Ended his career with 319 steals in 444 attempts.

- Hit .415 with no strikeouts in 94 at-bats against Greg Maddux and .444 with one strikeout in 72 at-bats against John Smoltz. The only pitcher to strike him out more than six times was Nolan Ryan, and he still hit .302 (with nine strikeouts) in 63 at-bats against him.

- Elected to the Hall of Fame in 2007 with the seventh highest percentage of the vote ever, a cool 97.6.

  1. proudlycanadian - Jun 16, 2014 at 12:47 PM

    A terrific summary of what Gwynn did on the baseball diamond. He was a champion.

    • proudlycanadian - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:03 PM

      I noticed that Matthew did not have to resort to WAR and other stathead terms to describe Gwynn’s brilliance.

      • kardshark1 - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:30 PM

        And by “not have to resort to WAR,” you obviously meant, “I noticed Matthew acknowledged his impressive WAR in ’86 and ’87.”

      • proudlycanadian - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:52 PM

        Which WAR? Were we still fighting the Cold War in 86 and 87?

      • cur'68 - Jun 16, 2014 at 2:00 PM

        WAR of 1812?

      • proudlycanadian - Jun 16, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        That was a fun WAR. I was not around, but I did read about it.

      • cur'68 - Jun 16, 2014 at 2:30 PM

        If Tony Gwynn had been around in 1812 I don’t like our chances. BUT I’m pretty sure he’d have talked his countrymen out of the whole enterprise and into doing something more profitable like playing some baseball and having a few laughs.

        I remember being aware of Gwynn long before I realized who he was or how good he was at baseball: he was always featured on the sports news having done something amazing or set some record or the like. Even back then I knew he was well known for his good humour and grace. A nation of Tony Gwynn’s would be a good thing for us all.

      • cowboysoldiertx - Jun 16, 2014 at 5:11 PM

        The only good wars were: Star Wars, WW2 and the Civil War.

    • cur'68 - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:04 PM

      Totally.

  2. realgone2 - Jun 16, 2014 at 12:51 PM

    Man, you talk about a damn amazing player. I give you Mr. Tony Gwynn. RIP

  3. tbird05 - Jun 16, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    As great a ball player as he was, he was still a better person. RIP Mr. Gwynn.

  4. Loose Changeup - Jun 16, 2014 at 12:59 PM

    Tony Gwynn career strike contact percentage: 92.8%
    Tony Gwynn in the 7 seasons he played after he turned 35: .350/.392/.490
    No pitcher ever struck out Gwynn 10 times in their career. Nolan Ryan struck him out 9 times in 67 PA. Next on the list are Dwight Gooden and 3 others with 6K each.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 16, 2014 at 4:14 PM

      and yet Mo Rons thumb those amazing stats down…

  5. jrocknstuff - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    On top of all that, he was an NBA draft pick too. Simply amazing. Rest in peace, Tony.

  6. kardshark1 - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:17 PM

    2.4% of HOF voters do not think he was good enough to get in.

    I think 100% of us can agree that they are morons.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 16, 2014 at 4:15 PM

      two thumbs down when I’m responding…

      guess at least two HOF voters are online here…

  7. rbj1 - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    “Struck out just 434 times in 10,232 plate appearances.”

    That’s as amazing as Joe D’s 369 strikeouts vs. 363 home runs, but in many fewer PAs (in part due to the war.)

    • cohnjusack - Jun 16, 2014 at 9:36 PM

      Wrong…it’s far more amazing.

      In 1940, MLB saw a strikeout every 10.6 plate appearances.
      In 1990, MLB saw a strikeout every 6.7 plate appearances.

  8. WillIEverSeeACupInMyLife? - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:24 PM

    Great hitter, one of the best I’ve ever seen.

  9. Loose Changeup - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    Tony Gwynn, in 2440 games, was more likely to get 2 or more hits (951 G) than 0 hits (602 G), and he was more likely to get 3 or more hits (297 G) than 2 or more K (34 G)

  10. dillongeeescapeplan - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    In 323 PA against Pedro, Glavine, Maddux and Smoltz, he struck out only three times.

  11. unlost1 - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    the 56 stolen bases may surprise but you have to rememeber he wasn’t always overweight. even more astounding- 15 strikeouts in a year. Who else has done that? Anyone know?

    • yahmule - Jun 16, 2014 at 2:50 PM

      He played point guard @ San Diego State. The guy was always an outstanding athlete.

      • ptfu - Jun 16, 2014 at 9:36 PM

        Tony Gwynn still holds the San Diego State all-time and single-season assists records, more than thirty years after leaving the Aztec basketball program.

        Tony Gwynn also has five Gold Gloves, and they were deserved. He made a lot of catches look easy by reading the ball well off the bat and taking a good route. Plus he’d throw to the right base or cutoff man. This continued all career long, even when his knees were shot and he could hardly move. He might not have made the highlight reels but he created a lot of outs in RF and prevented plenty of runs & extra bases.

    • raysfan1 - Jun 16, 2014 at 3:00 PM

      Joe Sewell holds the record, striking out 4 times in a season. Twice. (1925 and 1929)
      http://www.baseball-almanac.com/recbooks/rb_strike1.shtml

  12. grumpyoleman - Jun 16, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    Amazing he is only 19th on the all-time hit list.

    • sportsfan18 - Jun 16, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      It’s about at bats…

      He ONLY had the 53rd MOST at bats in MLB history but he has the 19th most hits…

  13. calicokiller49 - Jun 16, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    wow.

  14. moogro - Jun 16, 2014 at 2:23 PM

    tuff out.

  15. yahmule - Jun 16, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    To this day, my biggest regret of the 1994 strike was that Tony Gwynn lost his best chance to hit .400 that season.

    • cshearing - Jun 16, 2014 at 3:47 PM

      I was an Expos fan so I have other regrets, but that’s a big one too.

  16. cowboysoldiertx - Jun 16, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    An amazing player (and from what I have read) a terrific father, and human being. He would have hit .400 in 94.

  17. keltictim - Jun 16, 2014 at 5:19 PM

    Is he the player who has come closest to Teddy Ball Games .400 average? Today’s game being what it is, that’s one record I think is safe. As a big Williams fan I would have been very happy if Tony had been the one to break it.

    • yahmule - Jun 16, 2014 at 8:39 PM

      Yeah, Brett hit .390 and Carew hit .388.

    • ptfu - Jun 16, 2014 at 9:10 PM

      I believe you’re right: nobody has hit higher than Tony Gwynn’s .394 in 1994. Oh what might have been, but for that blasted strike–Expos fans know what I’m talking about–and for what it’s worth, Tony was on an absolute tear when the strike hit. If–when–Gwynn had hit .400 that year, I think Ted Williams would have embraced his accomplishment.

      That said, Tony Gwynn was also a big fan of Teddy Ballgame. It isn’t an accident that Gwynn of all people was the one helping Williams onto the field before the 1999 All-Star Game in Fenway. Williams spent years “yelling” at Gwynn to turn on the inside pitch and hit it with authority, rather than “carving” it the other way into the 5.5 hole. Late in his career, Gwynn finally listened, and displayed surprising (for him) pop.

  18. aceshigh11 - Jun 16, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    An amazing talent, a gentleman, and a truly brilliant scholar of the game.

    Just terribly sad to pass at a young age. RIP.

  19. slappymcknucklepunch - Jun 16, 2014 at 10:11 PM

    RIP Mr. Gwynn.

  20. spc7ray - Jun 17, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    One of the greatest hitters of all time–Also one of the nicest guys in the game also–54 is just too young-I feel very sad for his family–RIP Mr Gwynn

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