In the saddest news most of us could imagine, MLB is reporting that Hall of Fame San Diego Padres legend Tony Gwynn has passed today at age 54.
Gwynn had been battling salivary gland cancer for the last four years. Despite ongoing health issues, it was announced just last week that the 15-time All-Star was staying on as head coach at San Diego State University. Gwynn’s son, Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Tony Gwynn Jr., had just spoken to CSN Philly about his dad’s illness and his chances for survival.
“This has been the hardest of the four years he’s fought it, by far,” Tony Jr. said.
“When I left for spring training he was in a good spot, and now he’s not in that same spot, so from that standpoint I guess it has worsened. But in the big scheme of things, which is getting healthy so he can do the things he wants to do, I see light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t say that he does, but then again he’s the one going through this, and it’s tough on him.”
Gwynn’s first-ballot Hall of Fame accomplishments on the field can’t be understated. Five Gold Glove awards and eight National League batting titles with a career average of .338, he leaves behind a legacy that defined the Padres and helped define the landscape of pro baseball itself in the 1980s. Our condolences go out to the Gwynn family, and he will be truly, sorely missed.