On August 6th, 1999, the Padres were in Montreal for the start of a 4-game series with the Expos. Tony Gwynn entered the game with 2,999 career hits. In the top of the first inning, Quilvio Veras led off the game with a single to left. Gwynn then stepped in to face the Expos’ starter Dan Smith. The first pitch was called a strike to Gwynn. He then fouled a pitch off making it 0-2 before taking a ball. With the count 1-2, Gwynn expected a breaking ball low and he got it. He shoots it over the second baseman, Mike Mordecai’s head with that sweet, compact, smooth swing of his for a single, marking his 3,000th career hit. He became the 22nd member of the 3,000 hit club. The following moments were unforgettable.
He reached this milestone on his mother, Vendella’s birthday. The first base umpire was Kerwin Danley, Gwynn’s college teammate. His family walked onto the field to embrace Tony and congratulated him in person. The game stopped for several moments as the Expos paid tribute on their jumbo-tron. It was a beautiful moment for everyone. It is one of the proudest moments in San Diego sports history, maybe even San Diego history period. When play resumed, Phil Nevin doubled home Veras and Gwynn to give the Padres an early 2-0 lead.
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Gwynn then proceeded to get career hits number 3,001, 3,002 and 3,003 as he finished 4-for-5 in the Padres 12-10 victory 15 years ago. He finished the game with a .326 average. He finished the 1999 season with a .338 average and 139 hits and was selected to what would be his last of 11 consecutive All-Star Games and 15 total. When all was said and done, he had 3,141 career hits, which is 19th all-time.