So sad. Tony Gwynn, one of the most natural hitters Major League Baseball has ever seen, lost his years-long battle with cancer and passed away on June 16. He was just 54 years old.
Major League Baseball lost one of its legends much, much too soon on June 16. Tony Gwynn, who was a 15-time All-Star, eight-time batting champion, and first-ballot Hall of Famer, died at the age of 54 after battling cancer for more than seven years.
Tony Gwynn Dies At 54
The San Diego Padres — the team Tony played for for 20 years — confirmed his sad, shocking death in an emotional tweet on June 16:
We are terribly sad to say goodbye to our teammate, our friend and a legend, Tony Gwynn. Rest in peace, Mr. Padre.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) June 16, 2014
Tony passed away at Pomerado Hospital in Poway, Cali., according to a release from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
In his 20-year career in the MLB, Tony racked up 3,141 hits, finishing his career with an astonishing .341 career batting average and eight National League batting titles (tied for the second most all-time). He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007 in his first year of eligibility and his No. 19 was retired by the San Diego Padres three years earlier.
After rounding out his career as a professional baseball player, Tony became the coach of the San Diego State University baseball team. He had just signed a one-year contract extension with the team on June 11.
Tony Gwynn’s Battle With Cancer
Unfortunately, Tony’s life after baseball was plagued by disease. The MLB legend was diagnosed with cancer of the salivary glands in 2007 — he attributed the cancer to his chewing tobacco habit from when he played baseball. He had both of his lymph nodes removed in 2010, and more recently, he had been on medical leave from his coaching job at SDSU while recovering from further cancer treatment, according to ESPN.
Tony has a son carrying on his legacy in the majors — Tony Gwynn Jr., who plays for the Philadelphia Phillies.
It’s just so sad to see Tony go at such a young age. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time.
— Andrew Gruttadaro