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(mlb)hall of fame: tony Gwynn

Posted: January 22nd, 2007, 4:55 pm
by Qdawg
Tony Gwynn

Anthony Keith "Tony" Gwynn (born May 9, 1960 in Los Angeles, California) is a former right fielder in Major League Baseball, widely considered one of the best hitters in baseball history. He played his entire 20-year career (1982–2001) for the San Diego Padres. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on January 9, 2007 and will be inducted on July 29.

Gwynn was unique for his era. Despite the fact that he played much of his career at a "power position" (right field is known for producing sluggers) during a time when home runs were at an all-time high, he was not a home run threat, never hitting more than 17 in any one season during his major league career. Instead, Gwynn made a name for himself by being one of the most consistent hitters for contact in the game's history. He struck out only 434 times in 9,288 career at-bats, and never batted below .309 in any full season.

Gwynn was selected by the Padres in the third round of the 1981 MLB draft (the 58th player chosen overall). He threw and batted left-handed. His uniform number was #19, which the Padres retired in 2004.

In honor of Gwynn's long service to the Padres and the community, the address of the Padres' ballpark, PETCO Park, is 19 Tony Gwynn Way.

Gwynn is currently the head coach for his alma mater, the San Diego State University Aztecs, and until recently was a part-time analyst for ESPN. He has recently been recruited as a Yahoo! Sports expert analyst. He often sits in with Matt Vasgersian and Mark Grant (another former Padre) for play-by-play during Padres games on San Diego's Channel 4.

A graduate of San Diego State University, Gwynn was also a standout point guard on the Aztecs' basketball team, setting a school record for assists. The same day the Padres drafted him, Tony Gwynn was also selected by the-then San Diego Clippers in the 10th round of the National Basketball Association draft.

Gwynn constantly studied his swing, always looking for some way, no matter how small, to improve his hitting. His bats were relatively small Louisville Slugger (model #B276C) measuring 33 inches and weighing just 30 1/2-ounces, far smaller than those of his contemporary, five-time American League batting champion Wade Boggs, who used Louisville Slugger's #B439 model. Gwynn began using the smaller bats while playing his first season of professional ball for San Diego's A-level Walla Walla Padres minor league club in 1981 because he was having trouble adapting to wood bats and wanted something of a similar weight to the aluminum bats he used in college.

Even though Gwynn was batting .360 at the time, he felt that the larger bats were hampering him because he had to choke up so far — and he was breaking a lot of bats. The major league clubs were on strike at the time, and the Padres sent their minor league clubs their bats. Gwynn picked out the smallest ones he could find, which belonged to a first baseman named Mike Ivie. Despite still having to choke up to where he felt was abnormally high, Gwynn liked the feel of the handles. Later, he bought several 33 inch, 30 1/2-ounce Little League bats at a Eugene, Oregon sporting goods store. Using his new lumber, Gwynn hit home runs in each of the next five games.

Gwynn joined the Padres in July, 1982 in center field, appearing in 54 games and batting .289. 1982 would be the only season of Gwynn's career in which he would hit below .300.

Gwynn's breakthrough season was 1984, when he hit .351 and won the first batting title of his illustrious career. That season, the Padres won the first National League pennant in team history, defeating the Chicago Cubs in the National League Championship Series before losing the World Series to the Detroit Tigers. Gwynn batted .368 in the NLCS, but was less effective against Detroit.

Gwynn was also a good baserunner prior to gaining weight in his later years. In 1987, he tied an NL record with five stolen bases in a game, and he had 319 steals in his career. He became proficient with a glove for most of his career, winning five Gold Glove Awards from 1986 to 1991 despite playing much of his career with knee problems. Over time, his left knee became the more troublesome, and Gwynn has had several operations on both to halt the deterioration of the joints. Today, he uses a combination of hot and cold wraps, topical ointments, and medication called Celadrin to give him relief.

Primarily a right fielder as of 1984, in 1989 Gwynn split time between right field and center fields, while winning his third Gold Glove.

In 1994 Gwynn batted .394, the highest batting average in the National League since Bill Terry hit .401 in 1930 and the highest in the majors since Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941. Had the season not been shortened by a strike, Gwynn would have had the chance to become the first batter to eclipse the magical .400 mark in more than 50 years; of course, several players have hit .400 for four months, only to fade. In the end, Gwynn fell three hits short of the .400 mark in the shortened season.

In 1997, Gwynn reached career highs with 17 home runs and 119 runs batted in. The next season, Gwynn batted .321 and helped the Padres win their second pennant, as they defeated the Houston Astros and Atlanta Braves in the playoffs. However, the Padres lost the World Series to the New York Yankees in a four-game sweep, despite Gwynn's home run in the opening game, and his overall batting average of .500 in the Series.

Achievements and honors:

Gwynn is an eight-time National League batting champion, leading the league in 1984, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997, which ties him with the Pittsburgh Pirates' Honus Wagner for the league record — the all-time Major League batting titles leader is Ty Cobb, who won 11 American League batting titles. He is also a 16-time All-Star, and was voted as a starter by the fans in 11 of the games.

Although he had 135 career home runs, Gwynn accurately described himself as a contact hitter who could hit to all fields. He rarely struck out (just 434 times, once every 21 at-bats) and his goal was to put the ball in play and move baserunners over. He was also an outstanding bunter.

In 1999, while still active as one of baseball's best hitters, he ranked Number 49 on The Sporting News'' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Despite adding to his career statistics for two more seasons until his retirement, when TSN updated their list for 2005, Gwynn had fallen to Number 57.

Gwynn retired in 2001 with a total of 3,141 hits and a lifetime batting average of .338. His career average is the highest among players whose careers began after World War II.He played his entire career with one team, a rarity in any era, and is considered by many to be the best player to ever wear a Padres jersey. rates Gwynn at 277 on their Hall of Fame Monitor (prospective hall-of-famers score at least 100), tying him for 13th all-time among batters and the highest among eligible batters not yet in the Hall of Fame. Only Pete Rose (313, ineligible) and Barry Bonds (345, still active) rate higher.

Since his retirement, Gwynn has worked as a color commentator for ESPN and is currently the head baseball coach at his alma mater, San Diego State University. In 1997, Smith Stadium, the school's baseball facility, was extensively renovated. Padre owner John Moores financed the estimated USD 4 million project, and at Moores's request, it was renamed Tony Gwynn Stadium. Gwynn currently splits his time between his homes in Poway, California (San Diego) and Fishers, Indiana (Indianapolis).

Gwynn's brother, Chris, was an outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Royals, and San Diego Padres (1987-96).

Gwynn is the father of R&B artist Anisha Nicole and major league outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., whose major league debut (with the Milwaukee Brewers) and first major league hit on July 19, 2006 came exactly 24 years to the day of his father's first major league hit — both Gwynns hit doubles.

Hall of Fame

On January 9, 2007, Gwynn was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, being selected on 532 out of 545 ballots (97.7%), seventh highest percentage in Hall of Fame voting history, and just thirteen votes short of a unanimous selection. Gwynn will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame alongside Cal Ripken, Jr. on July 29, 2007. Both were elected in their first year of eligibility.

Posted: February 7th, 2007, 2:12 pm
by Y.g. Kappa Don
He was a down 2 earth brotha 2 neva 2 busy to sign an autograph 4 a fan i meet him when i was still stayin out in Daygo(Salty D) at a KFC and most sports Iconz if they bout 2 eat they'll holla at ya like " what the fu*k you think you doin im eatin" but not Tony G. he wiped his handz and told me 2 stay in school and off these streetz and gave me a handshake and an autograph i respected that. 8)

Posted: February 7th, 2007, 2:15 pm
by Y.g. Kappa Don
He was a down 2 earth brotha 2 neva 2 busy to sign an autograph 4 a fan i meet him in Daygo(Salty D) at a KFC and most sports Iconz if they bout 2 eat they'll holla at ya like " what the fu*k you think you doin im eatin" but not Tony G. he wiped his handz and told me 2 stay in school and off these streetz and gave me a handshake and an autograph i respected that. 8)