Tony Gwynn: How legendary was Mr. Padre?
By Gavin Binns
Evaluating the legacy of San Diego outfielder Tony Gwynn, also referred to as “Mr. Padre”, beyond his high batting average.
When discussing the San Diego Padres as a franchise, it is undeniable that Tony Gwynn is the greatest player in their history.
One could also make the argument that Gwynn is one of the greatest players in MLB history with his .338 career batting average. Yet, batting average is only a minor spec in the historic career of Mr. Padre.
Although Gwynn was not put in many high-pressure situations in San Diego, he was incredibly clutch. According to baseballreference.com, in his 9 career World Series games, Gwynn hit .371 and had an OPS of .893.
In today’s game strikeouts have become more prominent than ever, yet Gwynn grinded out at-bats for 20 years while putting serious pressure on both the pitcher and defense. According to baseballreference.com, Gwynn had a career 4.2 strikeout percentage. The Major League average during his career was a 15.4% strikeout rate. This means that Gwynn struck out every 21.4 at-bats during his career.
Where Would the Padres be Without Gwynn?
In 1984, the Padres made the postseason for the first time in franchise history. That season Gwynn hit a whopping .351 and stole 33 bases while leading the Padres to the World Series. Also according to Spaeder, Gwynn owns 4.8% of the Padres franchise hits. This is insane considering that Gwynn hasn’t had an at-bat in 16 full seasons.
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The Padres have made the playoffs 5 times in their 48 years, and 3 of those years were with Gwynn leading the team. One cannot help but think of Gwynn’s potential if he played on the Yankees during the 90’s. Needless to say, San Diego fans would not trade their beloved Mr. Padre for the world.