Remembering Tony Gwynn

Tony Gwynn passed away today after a four-year fight with cancer. The news hit me hard. I grew up watching the eight-time batting champ. He was an amazing hitter--a tactician that could use every inch of the ballpark. He was thoughtful (I chose that card above because it kind of captures his persona), and he always had a plan. Tony Gwynn once hit more than .390 for a full baseball season! 

That's unbelievable in this era of specialization and situational pitching.

He had been sick for some time, but there was some optimism in his family that he would continue his battle. He'd signed an extension recently to continue on as the head baseball coach at San Diego State University, so I think his passing comes as a great surprise to those near him.

He played (and coached) in the same city for decades. He's as much a San Diego fixture (where he was a pretty good point guard in college) as he is MLB royalty, which is saying something in a sports landscape where athletes changed teams every three or four years.

I hope Tony's resting easy. I hope he's at peace, knowing he had a huge influence on the game and its fans, and I'm glad he's not in any more pain. And I hope that, wherever he is, he's stepping into a batter's box and swinging that bat through the zone a few times, lining up an opposite-field line drive...

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