Tony Gwynn would have turned 60 on Saturday. Sadly, the San Diego Padres star died in 2014 after a long battle with cancer and other health problems. To honor his memory, MLB Network will air 12 hours of programming dedicated to the Hall of Famer on Saturday. We will certainly be watching.
While the MLB Network tribute is great, we decided to add more Gwynn love to the weekend. Below are some incredible facts and stats from his 20-year career:
-Gwynn holds several National League records, among them are most batting titles won (eight), most seasons leading the league in hits (seven), most consecutive seasons hitting .300 or better (19) and most seasons leading the league in singles (seven).
-In the last 100 years no one has won more batting titles than Gwynn's eight. Ty Cobb is the only player in baseball history with more (12).
-Gwynn hit .338 over his 20-year career. Since World War II no one with 5,000 plate appearances is within 10 points of him.
-The last player to finish his career with a higher average than Gwynn was Ted Williams (.344) and he retired in 1960.
-In the 14 seasons from 1984 through 1997, Gwynn finished in the top five of the batting race 13 times. The only time he missed was in 1990, when he missed the mark by one hit.
-Since World War II, Gwynn is the only player to hit above .350 in five consecutive seasons (from 1993 through 1997). Only three players in MLB history had done it before him (Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, Al Simmons).
-Gwynn hit above .300 in 19 consecutive seasons (1983 to 2001), Cobb is the only player with a longer streak.
-He only struck out 434 times in his entire career, which was an average of 21.7 strikeouts per season. By comparison, Bryce Harper struck out 178 times in 2019.
-His highest total for strikeouts in a season was 40 in 1988.
-He struck out three times in a game just once, against Bob Welch in 1986.
-For his career, Gwynn hit .302 with two strikes. That's by far the best mark for any player since the stat began to be kept in the 1970s. Second place is Wade Boggs, who hit .262 in those situations.
-Gwynn had six straight seasons (and eight total) when he struck out fewer than 20 times.
-In 1987, Gwynn had more stolen bases (56) than strikeouts (35) while hitting .370.
-Gwynn reached the 3,000 hit mark in fewer games (2,284) and at-bats (8,874) than anyone born after 1900. In baseball history, only Ty Cobb and Nap Lajoie got there faster.
-He recorded 45 four-hit games in his career and only 34 multi-strikeout games.
-Gwynn wound up facing 18 Hall of Fame pitchers during his career (including the postseason). He made 541 plate appearances against them and hit .331/.371/.426.
-Gwynn tormented Greg Maddux. The two faced each other in 107 plate appearances and Gwynn hit .415/.476/.521.
-Gwynn never struck out against Maddux (94 at-bats) or Pedro Martinez (35 at-bats).
-In fact, Gwynn hit .400 or better against eight difference Cy Young Award winners (Maddux, John Smoltz, Bret Saberhagen, Vida Blue, John Denny, Dennis Eckersley, Mark Davis, Doug Drabek. He batted .300 or better against seven more.
-After hitting .338 over a 20-year career in 9,288 at-bats, Gwynn would have had to go 0-for-1,183 for his average to fall under .300. That's basically more than two seasons' worth of at-bats.
Gwynn had an amazing career and a huge impact on everyone who came into contact with him. He was an all-time great on and off the field.
Saturday's MLB Network tribute will begin at 11 a.m. with the documentary about Gwynn's career entitled Mr. Padre and continue throughout the day with great games from his career.