Today I was shocked and sadden to hear of the passing of Baseball Hall of Fame former Padres outfielder Tony Gwynn.
Even though I didn’t watch a lot of Padres games when he played, or now for that matter, I was always aware of
Tony Gwynn’s Major League Baseball career. He was that good, that he triumphed over the ‘east coast bias’.
East Coast Bias
Back in the early 2000’s when Tony Gwynn announced he was retiring, it was the same year Cal Ripken had announced
he was retiring. That summer, during MLB All Star Game, Cal Ripken was elected to the team and Tony Gwynn wasn’t.
Even though Ripken’s numbers that year didn’t suggest they were worthy enough for selection to the team. It was more
an honorary selection. Which is cool, since it was the last year of a tremendous career, but no such honor was bestowed
upon Gwynn. He was later selected to be some sort of ambassador for the National League, and got to sit on the bench
during the game, but not play. That always struck me as a little messed up. Here was this guy who was arguably the best
hitter of his time, and he was somehow not as respected as Cal Ripken. I know Ripken was probably the better player,
especially with his ‘Iron Horse’ record for consecutive games played, but would Tony Gwynn had an honorary spot on that
team if he had played for the NY Yankees or Boston RedSox? I think he would have.
Today we celebrate his life
Part of Tony Gwynn’s Hall of Fame Plaque reads as follows:
” An artisan with a bat whose daily pursuit of excellence produced a .338 lifetime batting average, 3,141 hits, and a National
Farewell to the Greatest Baseball hitter of generation, Mr. Tony Gwynn.