#1 Forever #19
As if Padres fans had been through enough already with yet another losing season and previous loss of fan-favorite broadcaster Jerry Coleman in January, the worst news of all happened. The Padres lost Anthony Keith “Tony” Gwynn on June 16th, 2014 after a long, hard-fought battle with salivary gland cancer. Known as “Mr. Padre”, Tony Gwynn made his MLB debut on July 19th, 1982.Gwynn got the first of his 3, 141 career hits that night. First Basemen of the Phillies against the Padres that night was Pete Rose, who told Gwynn “Congratulations, don’t catch me in one night.”
That year was the only time Gwynn finished a season hitting below .300 (.289) mainly due to injury. Gwynn is only the only player in franchise history to appear in both World Series for the Padres in 1984 and 1998. Gwynn went on to be the NL-batting champion eight times, won the Silver Slugger award seven times, won five Gold Gloves and made 15 All-Star appearances for the National League, scoring the winning run in the 1994 All-Star Game in Pittsburgh.
That strike-shortened year was one of Gwynn’s best hitting over .400, the first since Ted Williams in 1941. “Mr. Padre” will be forever missed among baseball fans and Padres fans with his loveable personality and his contagious laugh. He was truly one of the great players of the last century.