Celebrating the Amazing Feats of MLB Legend Tony Gwynn on His Birthday
Today, May 9th, the immortal Tony Gwynn would have turned 60. The left-handed hitting outfielder was one of the greatest batters in baseball history, accumulating a .338 batting average in 20 seasons (1982–2001) with the San Diego Padres. Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007, he passed away at the way-too-early age of 54 in 2014. In celebration of his birthday, here are some remarkable statistics and facts about the legend.
· The most times Gwynn ever struck out in a single season was 40, which he did in 1988 when he led the National League in hitting at .313.
· In 1994, when Gwynn hit an astonishing league-leading .394, he struck out just 19 times; including only one game where he whiffed more than once.
· Including the playoffs, Gwynn had 541 plate appearances against future Hall-of-Fame pitchers. He combined to hit .331 against them.
· Gwynn hit at least .300 in every season of his career except his rookie year. That came in 1982, when he batted “just” .289 in 54 games.
· Although Gwynn deservedly gets most of the attention heaped on him for his hitting, he was also an excellent fielder — especially in the earlier part of his career. He won five Gold Gloves and is still fifth all-time in putouts by a right fielder.
· During one five-year stretch (1993–1997), Gwynn batted an amazing combined .368.
· The pitcher Gwynn had the most hits against was Greg Maddux. He collected 39 base knocks in 94 at-bats against the iconic righty; good for a .415 average.
· Gwynn also regularly tuned up Maddux’s long-time teammate John Smoltz. He was 32 for 72 against the future Hall-of-Famer, which computes to a ridiculous .444 average.
· Gwynn hit 135 home runs in his career. The most against any one pitcher were the four that he belted off Cincinnati Reds’ left-hander Tom Browning.
· The one pitcher Gwynn struggled against the most was journeyman southpaw reliever Frank Dipino, who held him to a lone single in 20 at-bats.
· Gwynn got at least one base hit batting in ever position in the batting order except one. He had nine career plate appearances batting cleanup and was able to only muster a lone walk.
· Only Ty Cobb (12) has more than Gwynn’s eight batting titles.
· Gwynn was also an excellent basketball player, manning point guard in college for San Diego State. He still holds school records for the Aztecs, including most assists in a single season and in a career.