Tony Gwynn, a man regarded as one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, died Monday of cancer. He was 54.
A Baseball Hall of Famer, Gwynn spent all 20 of his major league seasons with the San Diego Padres, earning 15 All-Star nods, five Gold Gloves and seven Silver Slugger Awards. He retired in 2001 after racking up 3,141 hits and recording a .338 career batting average, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2007, garnering 97.6 percent of the vote.
Gwynn began coaching his alma mater, San Diego State, in 2002 but took a leave of absence in March after undergoing cancer treatments. He signed a one-year contract extension with the school just last week.
“Tony will be remembered in baseball circles for his hitting acumen, as evidenced by a lofty .338 lifetime batting average and an astonishing eight National League batting titles,” Jeff Idelson, president of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, said in a statement, via ESPN.com. “But it was his infectious laugh, ever-present smile and humble disposition that made Mr. Padre a favorite in San Diego and an endearing figure to a nation of baseball fans who marveled at his career accolades and celebrated his 2007 induction into the Hall of Fame in record numbers.”