San Diego Padres legend Tony Gwynn dies at age 54

By Daniel S Levine,

Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, one of the most recognizable faces in San Diego Padres franchise history, has died. He was just 54-years-old.

Gwynn battled salivary gland cancer, according to the Padres’ site. He died Pomerado Hospital in Poway, California with his family by his side Monday morning.

Gwynn spent all 20 of his major league seasons with the Padres, accumulating a .338 batting average, the best career average since Ted Williams retired. He earned eight National League batting titles - the second-most in baseball history - and was inducted into Cooperstown in 2007 with Cal Ripken Jr., the first year he was eligible.

In addition, “Mr. Padre” played in the only two World Series that the Padres reached.

“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 to ESPN.

The numbers Gwynn amassed remain amazing to this day. He hit .300 in his last 19 years and reached base on a hit in 75 percent of his games. He made 15 All-Star teams and won seven Silver Slugger Awards.

The Associated Press repots that Gwynn had two cancer operations on his right cheek and suffered complications during the second one in 2012. A facial nerve was removed, but doctors grafted a neck nerve that allowed him to slowly regain movement in his face.

He recently coached for San Diego State and had signed a one-year extension just last week.

image courtesy of Roger Wong/INFGoff.com

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