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Monday, June 16, 2014

The Gwynn men: A son’s love, a father’s fight | Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia

Reports all over Twitter that HOF Tony Gwynn has passed away.

Jim Furtado Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:25 AM | 216 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: obituaries, padres, tony gwynn

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   101. Batman Posted: June 16, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4727502)
bb-ref's two-strike data goes back to 1988. Gwynn hit over .300 with two strikes eight times in the 14 years of his career that are covered. He was .274 or better (12 points better than second place on the career list) 12 times in those 14 years. His best was .368 in 1994.
   102. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 01:54 PM (#4727504)
FWIW, Gwynn himself believed that his use of dip contributed to the development of his cancer. Link.
   103. rr Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:00 PM (#4727511)
RIP.
   104. Publius Publicola Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4727513)
a pinch between the check and gums - which is a bit different from "chaw". No matter, I still think nicotine = poison.



It's not the nicotine that kills you. It's the nicotine that gets you addicted. There are other secondary metabolite carcinogens that kill you. Which makes Big Tobacco so controversial because they have the ability to genetically modify their product to make it less dangerous. But since they had been denying their product was dangerous in the first place, they refused to do so.
   105. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:06 PM (#4727514)
His best was .368 in 1994.

Hitting .368 with two strikes over a whole season (albeit a strike season) is just ridiculous.
   106. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:07 PM (#4727516)
Hitting .368 over a whole season is ridiculous. Doing it with two strikes is the kind of thing where you'd say your video game's AI was broken.
   107. Publius Publicola Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4727520)
I don't think any less of Tony for using chew. I wished he hadn't done it because by doing so he probably shortened his life and he was one of my favorite ballplayers and now I'm sad he's gone. But I don't think any less of him. He had too many compensating positive qualities about him. I feel sad and empty, not angry or disappointed.
   108. Davo Dozier Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:26 PM (#4727533)
I really dislike today's batting strategy (all Ks and Walks and Homers) and would like oh so badly for there to be another Tony Gwynn.

Matt Carpenter, are you listening???
   109. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:31 PM (#4727537)
davo

matt is too old already
   110. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:52 PM (#4727553)
In 1994, Gwynn hit .511 in Padres wins over 209 PAs. He hit over .370 EVERY MONTH that year (strike-shortened, but still, remarkable consistency). He hit .441 that year with no runners on base. He was 24-42 against the Phillies that year (.514). He hit .542 at Dodger Stadium that year.

I would have loved to see him make a run a .400.
   111. dr. scott Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:53 PM (#4727554)
ichiro could do it if he wanted to.... wait he may have come close.
   112. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 16, 2014 at 02:58 PM (#4727558)
I think Tony Gwynn at Coors Field hits .400. With the outfielders all spread out and playing a bit deeper he would have been unstoppable.
   113. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4727563)
shooty

gwynn's profile is a really good fit for coors
   114. Booey Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:08 PM (#4727564)
Nothing new to add, just wanted to say RIP Tony Gwynn. I loved following his boxscores in the paper every morning as a kid. Always one of my favorite players growing up.

Way, way too soon.
   115. Bourbon Samurai in Asia Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4727565)
Man was he fine to watch. One of those guys you'd stop whetever you were doing just to see how he'd poke the ball through the infield this time.
   116. Batman Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4727566)
It was only 11 to 26 PA per year, but Gwynn had four seasons where he hit .360 or better on 0-2 pitches.

Tony Gwynn Senior hit .267/.288/.346 in PA that started with a 0-2 count. Tony Gwynn Junior has hit .239/.310/.311 in all his PA.
   117. alilisd Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:17 PM (#4727572)
This would have been devastating as a Padres fan anytime, but so soon after Jerry Coleman's passing makes it all the more difficult. It's never easy to be a Padres fan, but the past few years have been really rough.

Thanks for all the wonderful memories, Tony!
   118. Accent Shallow Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:18 PM (#4727573)
Nothing new to add, just wanted to say RIP Tony Gwynn. I loved following his boxscores in the paper every morning as a kid. Always one of my favorite players growing up.

Way, way too soon.


Came to say this.
   119. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4727575)
Also just wanted to say that I was sorry to see this. Gwynn's talents amazed me as a kid (and still amaze me today), and he seemed to really love the game.
   120. Moeball Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4727584)
I believe it was October 7, 2001 that Tony played his last game as a Padre.

As Rickey! tells the story, he supposedly went to Tony that day and basically said "Hey, T, it's your day, all the fans comin to see you and say goodbye, so if you want Rickey to sit, that's ok."

To which Tony replied, "Nah, Rickey, you should play today - I want you to play today."

So Rickey played, and hit a blooper to right that fell in for his 3000th hit.

That was an amazing day for baseball history.
   121. GregD Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:44 PM (#4727590)
BBRef's stat converter has Gwynn .398 lifetime when converted to Coors 2000. With a 1994 of .448 with 290 hits
   122. Batman Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:48 PM (#4727596)
I like the tribute picture of young Tony Gwynn the sponsor put on his baseball-reference page.
   123. Harry Balsagne, anti-Centaur hate crime division Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:49 PM (#4727597)
Funny Puckett should be mentioned. My two favorite non-pitcher players as a kid were Kirby Puckett and Tony Gwynn. Being a little fat kid, the fact that they both got mad chunky later in their careers in endeared me to them even more. And they both died way to soon, which I find scary and heartbreaking.
   124. Moeball Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4727599)
Bob Welch was pretty successful against Gwynn, holding him to .292/.320/.333 in 50 PA.


Greg Maddux was not so successful - .415/.476/.521/.997 in 107 career PA.

There aren't a lot of hitters that can say they had that kind of success against Maddux.

When Maddux was with the Padres at the end of his career Tony would run into him from time to time and tease him about how he "owned" Maddux.

Meanwhile, Ruben Amaro, Jr. is still trying to figure out how Tony had only 39 hits in over 100 PAs against Maddux but still had a .415 BA against him.
   125. Batman Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:51 PM (#4727600)
Gwynn hit better at home against the Rockies (.393) than in Colorado (a lowly .359.)
   126. Batman Posted: June 16, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4727608)
BBRef's stat converter has Gwynn .398 lifetime when converted to Coors 2000. With a 1994 of .448 with 290 hits
That's with a 162-game season. He would have only had 209.4 in the Colorado Padres 117-game season.
   127. Moeball Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:02 PM (#4727614)
Tony also "owned" John Smoltz - .444/.467/.694/1.161 in 75 PA.

I've heard Tony talk about Omar Olivares being a tough one to hit for some reason.

I've also heard Tony talk about his struggles against Randy Johnson, too, but that makes more sense (lefty on lefty, etc.).

Gwynn only faced Johnson 18 times, but still struck out 5 times against him and went .111/.111/.167/.278 against him.
   128. bunyon Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:03 PM (#4727615)
If Gwynn played his entire career in Coors (as his homefield), does he catch Rose?

Very sad news.
   129. salvomania Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:04 PM (#4727618)
Matt Carpenter, are you listening???

Tony Gwynn Senior hit .267/.288/.346 in PA that started with a 0-2 count.

Speaking of Matt Carpenter, (a) he should've been included on the list of top hitters on an 0-2 count (career .258); and (b) his line in PA starting with an 0-2 count: .287/.315/.418.
   130. Batman Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:06 PM (#4727621)
He would have had 4161 career hits in 2000 Coors. He only "had" 49 and 43 his last two years, but he may have wanted to come back for a couple more years after his .384 2001 season.

With that .398 career average, he still would have only been 10th on the career OPS list, behind Manny and ahead of McGwire.
   131. spycake Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:11 PM (#4727627)
I won't harp on it, but it would be nice to see chewing tobacco banned in baseball dugouts and clubhouses. If it helps just one guy kick the habit or avoid it altogether, I think it's worth it. And not that Gwynn's legacy needs it, but if he was the reason, it would be yet another reason to be a fan.

And I also endorse the Gwynn is awesome refrain. Would have loved to see him play into his mid- to late-40's like Rickey or Franco -- I am absolutely sure he would have kept cranking out .320 seasons one way or another.
   132. Gamingboy Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4727640)
The greatest hitter since Ted Williams. God damnit. #### Cancer.
   133. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:30 PM (#4727646)
RIP Tony.

I was a big fan in the 80s.

Great hitter, and from the stories, just as swell a person.

   134. SandyRiver Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:34 PM (#4727652)
Only three long-career players whose MLB time began after the 1920s finished with BA .330+: Williams, Gwynn, Musial. Nice company.


Yes, but so is caffeine. They both exist to protect the plants from bugs. Bu, they're not really harmful to humans.


Nitpick: From my applicator license days, I recall the LD-50 (the dose at which at least 50% of test animals - usually rats - died) was about 200 parts per million - the ratio of chemical to body weight. For comparison, aspirin is about 1,500, and glyphosate (main active ingredient in Roundup) about 5,000. Though one would probably need to smoke about 1,000 cigs as fast as possible to approach that LD-50 level - the addicting power was the issue.
   135. AROM Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:36 PM (#4727658)
RIP Tony.

His cancer probably would have made this impossible, but otherwise I would have believed that even at his age and weight, he could still have grabbed a bat anytime and pinch hit .300. Though you'd certainly have to run for him and keep him out of the field, like Rusty Staub for the 1980's Mets.
   136. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:38 PM (#4727661)
His cancer probably would have made this impossible, but otherwise I would have believed that even at his age and weight, he could still have grabbed a bat anytime and pinch hit .300. Though you'd certainly have to run for him and keep him out of the field, like Rusty Staub for the 1980's Mets.


Not a chance with the weight he was pulling over the past decade.
   137. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4727665)
I won't harp on it, but it would be nice to see chewing tobacco banned in baseball dugouts and clubhouses.


I seem to recall that this has been done in the minors. Maybe I'm thinking of something else.
   138. Tulo's Fishy Mullet (mrams) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 04:54 PM (#4727672)
Gwynn's '87 Topps Card is of note, since it features the back of his head.
   139. salvomania Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:02 PM (#4727681)
I don't think I ever realized that Gwynn drove in 119 runs one year, in 1997.

That was the year he led the NL in singles while slugging .547 and finishing in the top 10 in extra-base hits.

EDIT: At age 37!
   140. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:02 PM (#4727682)
Tony replied, "Nah, Rickey, you should play today - I want you to play today."
So Rickey played, and hit a blooper to right that fell in for his 3000th hit.


Making that game just the second time in MLB history that two teammates in a lineup each had 3,000 career hits.
   141. Perry Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4727684)
But cancer of the salivary gland and mouth is pretty clearly due to chaw


Most likely, although that's what got Roger Ebert too, and he never touched tobacco.
   142. Ben V-L Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:35 PM (#4727709)
In some article I read, I think a Street & Smiths preview for the 1985 season, Gwynn was identified as an underpaid player and asked what he thought about it. He answered "that sounds better than being considered overpaid."
   143. madvillain Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:36 PM (#4727710)
Jesus, my dad died of esophageal cancer at the same damn age. Men who smoke + drink are exponentially more likely to get throat/mouth cancer and obviously Gwynn was a chewer. These cancers are often aggressive and unless caught early quickly turn into stage 4 and stage 5 death sentences.

I hope Tony died at peace with his life and family and that he was not in great pain for long. Cancer is a really awful way to go.

All men that have smoked and/or moderate to heavy drinkers must get checked for this stuff after 40. My dad had quit smoking for over a decade when they found the cancer, but the damage was done.
   144. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:38 PM (#4727716)
Damn, madvillain. Sorry to hear that.
   145. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:45 PM (#4727718)
I interviewed Gwynn a few years back, asking him about Game 5 of the '84 World Series (I was there!). I asked him about Rusty Kuntz' infamous pop-up in the fifth inning, caught by Wiggins in shallow RF, which allowed Kirk Gibson to race home for the go-ahead run. (Maybe my favourite baseball trivia question of all time: "Who had the game-winning RBI in the deciding game of the 1984 World Series?")

Anyway, Tony just chuckled and said, "I lost it in the sky." It was late afternoon (the last daytime outdoor WS game to date, in fact), with the sky half blue and sunshiny and half-covered with dark clouds. No wonder he couldn't see it!

And now both Wiggins and Gwynn are gone. Ave atque vale.
   146. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: June 16, 2014 at 06:08 PM (#4727737)
Bill James attacks Gwynn in the '91 Baseball Book. To paraphrase, he basically blames the whole "figurine hanging" incident on him (noting Gwynn's supposed "insecurity and parnoia") and calls him a whiner for complaining about his low salary. "Any ballplayer who makes a million dollars a year and complains about it deserves a swift kick in the balls." Yikes!

I remember reading this in shock; who the hell doesn't like Tony Gwynn? My estimation of Bill James dropped considerably, and has yet to recover. (Of course, it wasn't all that high; I met Bill James in 1986. Moral: Never meet your heroes.)
   147. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 06:20 PM (#4727757)
James sounds like an even bigger Grade-A creep than I'd surmised. Jesus.
   148. AndrewJ Posted: June 16, 2014 at 06:29 PM (#4727779)
Only three long-career players whose MLB time began after the 1920s finished with BA .330+: Williams, Gwynn, Musial. Nice company.

And frankly, Gwynn's career .338 average -- in an era of relief pitchers, mostly night games, sliders and jet lag -- is more impressive than Williams' .344 average.
   149. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 06:50 PM (#4727805)
percentage of lifetime hits that were singles:
Gwynn : 75.7% (2378/3141)
Rose: 75.5% (3215/4256)

There's one 3000 hit player who has a higher percentage (and it's not Lajoie)

N.B. Wee Willie Keeler is at 85.7%, but stopped at 2932 hits
   150. AndrewJ Posted: June 16, 2014 at 07:12 PM (#4727832)
And also, Gwynn winning eight batting titles in leagues of 12-14 teams is more impressive than Ty Cobb winning 12 titles in the eight-team AL.
   151. PreservedFish Posted: June 16, 2014 at 07:16 PM (#4727837)
I would love to see an examination of how on earth Gwynn could hit so well off of Greg Maddux and so poorly off of Omar Olivares. And don't just tell me "sample size," you buzz kills.
   152. TDF, situational idiot Posted: June 16, 2014 at 07:27 PM (#4727861)
Only three long-career players whose MLB time began after the 1920s finished with BA .330+: Williams, Gwynn, Musial. Nice company.

And frankly, Gwynn's career .338 average -- in an era of relief pitchers, mostly night games, sliders and jet lag -- is more impressive than Williams' .344 average.
1. Figure the age each passed 1/2 of their career - Gwynn 29 years old, '89; Williams 30, '49; Musial, 31, '52.
2. Neutralize each hitter for the same age in each of the other 2 parks - if Gwynn started in Boston the same time Williams did, his age-29 season would have been '48.

So anyway, Gwynn, normalized for '48 BOS hit .349 for his career; '50 STL .346.
Williams, '90 SD, .326; '51 STL .334.
Musial, '91 SD, .322; '50 BOS .361. Oh, then I see that Fenway was a hitter's paradise in '50 - in a league that averaged over 5 r/g, the park factor was 110 (Williams hits .366 for his career in '50 Fenway, and Gwynn .380 (!!!)).

In a 750 run/yr, 162 g/yr league, Gwynn hits .353, Williams .339, and Musial .335.

***

Gwynn's career was in my baseball roundhouse, too - his rookie season was the year after I graduated from high school, and I was living in Detroit during the '84 WS. I'll just echo what everyone else has said - hell of a hitter, seemed like the nicest guy on earth. It would be easier to root for my various favorite sports teams if there were more like him around.
   153. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: June 16, 2014 at 07:35 PM (#4727877)


I seem to recall that this has been done in the minors. Maybe I'm thinking of something else.


It is banned in the minors (no union,) so I was surprised when I read the Bullpen Gospels to read how much Hayhurst's teammates dipped or chewed. It isn't banned in the majors, but I think that players are more discreet about it. Bill Buckner isn't walking through that door anymore.
   154. Random Transaction Generator Posted: June 16, 2014 at 07:45 PM (#4727903)
I happened to catch the tale end of the 30-for-30 about athletes that go bankrupt, and in the scroll at the end of the story is a list of famous athletes that declared bankruptcy.
I was surprised to see Tony Gwynn's name in that list.
   155. DL from MN Posted: June 16, 2014 at 08:13 PM (#4727985)
Gwynn said Olivares had a sinker he just couldn't touch.

IIRC it was Gwynn who helped push the trend toward lighter bats with thinner handles
   156. A Dying Soul Posted: June 16, 2014 at 08:16 PM (#4727991)
My brother's fiance's nephew who is on a high school varsity baseball team in California chews tobacco and he says a lot of other people do it his age :( Just terrible He says its just something you do. Why cant they do Big League Chew? i loved that stuff.
   157. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 08:20 PM (#4727996)
I happened to catch the tale end of the 30-for-30 about athletes that go bankrupt, and in the scroll at the end of the story is a list of famous athletes that declared bankruptcy.
I was surprised to see Tony Gwynn's name in that list.


Gwynn got scammed by his agent when he was a young player, and filed in 1987.

Lew Muller, a San Diego-based attorney who became Gwynn's agent when Gwynn graduated from San Diego State University, purchased a Mercedes last year and used Gwynn as a co-signer.

Muller, according to sources, was late on payments, and the involved bank began calling Gwynn, asking for payments. Gwynn went to Muller's home and took the car, and he fired Muller not long after.

According to sources close to the player, Gwynn later had two more banks calling him about loans made to Muller. Again, Muller had used Gwynn as a co-signer. And, again, payments were not being made.

Sources said Gwynn--who felt a loyalty to Muller--at first tried to pay back some of the loans, but later had no choice but to file for bankruptcy.
   158. bobm Posted: June 16, 2014 at 08:24 PM (#4727999)
For single seasons, From 1988 to 2014, Two Strikes (within Count/Balls-Strikes), (requiring PA?400 for entire season(s)/career), sorted by greatest Batting Average for this split

                                                                
Rk              Player       Split Year   G   BA BAtot  PA PAtot
1           Tony Gwynn Two Strikes 1994  80 .368  .394 131   475
2           Tony Gwynn Two Strikes 1997 108 .352  .372 178   651
3      Placido Polanco Two Strikes 2007 124 .350  .341 240   641
4        Carlos Baerga Two Strikes 1995 101 .343  .314 187   600
5          Todd Helton Two Strikes 2000 145 .341  .372 300   697
6          Juan Pierre Two Strikes 2001 124 .335  .327 217   683
7    Nomar Garciaparra Two Strikes 2000 109 .329  .372 179   599
8           Wade Boggs Two Strikes 1994  87 .325  .342 188   434
9           Tony Gwynn Two Strikes 1993  93 .324  .358 155   534
10         Mike Piazza Two Strikes 1997 119 .324  .362 230   633
11     Willie Randolph Two Strikes 1991 108 .322  .327 200   512
12    Rickey Henderson Two Strikes 1990 122 .321  .325 277   594
13       Alan Trammell Two Strikes 1993  96 .321  .329 179   447
14          Tony Gwynn Two Strikes 1995  92 .321  .368 144   577
15         Todd Helton Two Strikes 2003 148 .320  .358 315   703
16     Chuck Knoblauch Two Strikes 1996 120 .319  .341 303   701
17          Tony Gwynn Two Strikes 1989 132 .318  .336 212   679
18          Tony Gwynn Two Strikes 1998  99 .317  .321 155   505
19     Rafael Palmeiro Two Strikes 1988 116 .316  .307 219   629
20        Dave Magadan Two Strikes 1990 121 .315  .328 232   541
21        Lenny Harris Two Strikes 1990  74 .314  .304 113   465
22        Brian Harper Two Strikes 1989  80 .313  .325 121   412
23     Gregg Jefferies Two Strikes 1995  91 .311  .306 172   521
24     Mike LaValliere Two Strikes 1988  86 .309  .261 142   409
25         Derek Jeter Two Strikes 2000 141 .308  .339 314   679
Rk              Player       Split Year   G   BA BAtot  PA PAtot
26          Wade Boggs Two Strikes 1989 144 .307  .330 340   742
27          Wade Boggs Two Strikes 1995 114 .307  .324 258   541
28        Jeff Cirillo Two Strikes 1998 146 .306  .321 327   694
29          Tony Gwynn Two Strikes 1996  81 .304  .353 125   498
30   Nomar Garciaparra Two Strikes 1999 107 .304  .357 183   595
31         Ozzie Smith Two Strikes 1992 117 .303  .295 229   590
32        Gerald Perry Two Strikes 1988 116 .302  .300 203   595
33      Jim Eisenreich Two Strikes 1995  95 .302  .316 173   423
34    Shea Hillenbrand Two Strikes 2004 127 .302  .310 212   604
35     Placido Polanco Two Strikes 2005 104 .302  .331 198   551
36          Wade Boggs Two Strikes 1988 146 .300  .366 335   719

   159. AndrewJ Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:04 PM (#4728080)
I think it was from 1994-1998 he had something like a .345 BA with two strikes... The highest non-Gwynn BA in the National League OVERALL during that same timeframe was Mike Piazza with a .340 BA.

EDIT: Did some quick and dirty calculations with BB-Ref. Gwynn hit .335 with two strikes from 1993-97. The second-highest batting average overall in the NL from '93 to '97 would have been Mike Piazza at .337 -- still impressive.
   160. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:28 PM (#4728096)
And frankly, Gwynn's career .338 average -- in an era of relief pitchers, mostly night games, sliders and jet lag -- is more impressive than Williams' .344 average.


Well except Ted, er...hit those 500+ homers AND lost several prime years to those pesky wars he was called to serve in. But other then that, mighty impressive!
   161. Fred Lynn Nolan Ryan Sweeney Agonistes Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:41 PM (#4728104)
There's one 3000 hit player who has a higher percentage (and it's not Lajoie)

Carew?
   162. asinwreck Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:42 PM (#4728106)
   163. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:44 PM (#4728108)
There's one 3000 hit player who has a higher percentage (and it's not Lajoie)

Carew?

yep--78.7% singles (2404/3053)
   164. Random Transaction Generator Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:27 PM (#4728136)
   165. bobm Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:29 PM (#4728138)
Kepner's memories of Gwynn

But he fretted on his way to San Diego the next summer, after a promotion from an affiliate in Hawaii. The whole flight, Gwynn said, he worried about the prospect of facing Steve Carlton, an imposing left-hander for the Philadelphia Phillies. He landed in San Diego and went straight to a newsstand to check that day’s starting pitcher. It was not Carlton.

Gwynn hit a sacrifice fly off Mike Krukow his first time up. His first hit came later that game, a double off Sid Monge. The Phillies’ first baseman, who trailed the play, shook Gwynn’s hand at second.

“Congratulations,” said the player, Pete Rose, who went on to become baseball’s career hits leader. “Don’t catch me after one night.”

Gwynn — whose 3,141 hits make him No. 19 on the list, to match his uniform number — told me that anecdote from the bench in Philadelphia one day in the early 1990s. All the stories here came from our conversations in dugouts.
   166. caprules Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:48 AM (#4728164)
Not a chance with the weight he was pulling over the past decade


Kruk hit .300 at the end of his career. He was a fairly large dude at the end.
   167. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:31 AM (#4728168)
During the 1998 WS, where Gwynn's Padres never really had a chance, there was an article comparing Gwynn to Jeter, for those local East Coasters who were unfamiliar with his West Coast exploits. I remember being impressed; I'll see if I can find it.
   168. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 17, 2014 at 07:58 AM (#4728190)
The greatest hitter [for average] since Ted Williams.

FIFY. For OPS+ Gwynn is tied for 140th on the career list with 25 other players, including Rico Carty, Rocky Colavito, Ryan Howard and Mo Vaughn. Obviously Gwynn's extreme value lies in great part due to his longevity.

   169. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:29 PM (#4728439)
Kruk hit .300 at the end of his career. He was a fairly large dude at the end.


Nope. Kruk was a beer league softball player, keg-shaped, with a gut. Probably peaked at 230, 240, tops.

Gwynn after he retired was huge, upwards of 350 pounds.
   170. alilisd Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:08 PM (#4728486)
For OPS+ Gwynn is tied for 140th on the career list with 25 other players, including Rico Carty, Rocky Colavito, Ryan Howard and Mo Vaughn. Obviously Gwynn's extreme value lies in great part due to his longevity.


And in being vastly superior in the field and on the bases than slugs like Howard and Vaughn. And in being healthier, despite not being particularly healthy, than Carty. And in being a superior MLB hitter in his mid and late 30's, unlike Colavito who tanked. That's ridiculous. The guys who he is most comparable to at the same OPS+ are Morgan and Palmeiro, not bums like Howard and Vaughn.
   171. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:27 PM (#4728524)
Gwynn is my standard bearer for the solid, middle-tiered, deserving HOFer. (Dwight Evans is my definition of borderline.)

I absolutely mean that as a compliment to Gwynn.

I do think he is overrated due to the high batting averages. But OTOH statheads in the 90s probably underrated him. In actuality despite the relatively low walks totals the high average gave him a high OBP, though not an elite OBP like Boggs had. He had decent power but not great power. But he was obviously an excellent offensive player. He was the hitter everyone thinks Ichiro is (though not the base runner or the defender).

What struck me about Gwynn's career as he was going through it (I missed the first half-decade of it) was that he didn't miss a beat in his 30s, arguably turning it up a half a notch (albeit with less durability).

I will always remember him as being Wade Boggs without the walks but who - unlike Boggs - kept up the high averages throughout.

The shame of his passing is that from all indications he was someone who enjoyed life, enjoyed family, and enjoyed his post-career coaching job. I get the sense that he may have enjoyed the coaching job at SDSU as much or more than he did his playing career. I imagine he was born for the coaching job, and that he truly loved it.
   172. Hank G. Posted: June 17, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4728558)
Yes, for many years; Tony had said that he thought that's what caused the cancer. It's time to ban it from MLB and MiLB clubhouses for good.


No disrespect meant towards Mr. Gwynn, but unless he had a second career as an oncologist, his opinion on this is irrelevant.

Lyle Alzado believed that steroids caused his brain cancer, but as far as I know, not a single medical expert agreed.

Sometimes bad things just happen.
   173. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 02:10 PM (#4728582)
No disrespect meant towards Mr. Gwynn, but unless he had a second career as an oncologist, his opinion on this is irrelevant.


True, except I would think he spoke to his oncologist about this. So it's not like he necessarily was not informed on this issue. Unless you're saying his oncologist told him it wasn't linked but he thought it was anyway.

That said, I have no idea what the link, if any, between dip and his type of cancer is.
   174. Greg K Posted: June 17, 2014 at 02:45 PM (#4728607)
During the 1998 WS, where Gwynn's Padres never really had a chance, there was an article comparing Gwynn to Jeter, for those local East Coasters who were unfamiliar with his West Coast exploits. I remember being impressed; I'll see if I can find it.

This seems bizarre. In 1998 there were people who were unaware of the exploits of the 14-time All-Star?
   175. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 17, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4728612)
This seems bizarre. In 1998 there were people who were unaware of the exploits of the 14-time All-Star?

Well, he wasn't a true Yankee, that Tony Gwin.
   176. Batman Posted: June 17, 2014 at 02:56 PM (#4728620)
Well, he wasn't a true Yankee, that Tony Gwin.
Ripkin and McGuire took up most of the non-Yankee media coverage. It was a simpler time.
   177. eddieot Posted: June 17, 2014 at 02:57 PM (#4728622)
During the 1998 WS, where Gwynn's Padres never really had a chance


Not Tony's fault. He went 8 for 16.
   178. Batman Posted: June 17, 2014 at 03:10 PM (#4728640)
Joe Pittman, who was on Gwynn's first Padre team, died on Friday.
   179. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 03:13 PM (#4728643)
This seems bizarre. In 1998 there were people who were unaware of the exploits of the 14-time All-Star?

I feel like Gwynn was more famous in the 80's. He seemed grouped with the high-BA stars of that era (Boggs, Brett, Mattingly).

The 90's were more about HR's and less about BA, so his star may have faded by then.
   180. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 03:21 PM (#4728657)
Ripkin and McGuire took up most of the non-Yankee media coverage. It was a simpler time.


Maddox too, and while Clemons did play for the Yankees, he was never a True Yankee like David Wells and Paul O'Neill were.
   181. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 17, 2014 at 03:22 PM (#4728661)
I remember Tony being a huge star in the 1990's. He was on the all star team every year of the decade including 4 starts. Of course, I was on the West Coast then.
   182. Random Transaction Generator Posted: June 17, 2014 at 03:27 PM (#4728673)
What made it difficult to appreciate Gwynn for some was his consistency.
He was metronomical...hit, hit, hit, hit.
If you check his career splits, he simply hit well (ignoring SSS) against pretty much everyone, in every situation, in every month, in every ballpark, in every count.
(it's basically .310 to .385 for almost every split...it's really quite amazing)

There was no "He was so clutch!", because he just hit well ALL THE TIME that you couldn't tell the difference.
   183. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 04:01 PM (#4728711)
He was also the anti-TTO hitter. He hit few home runs, didn't walk that much and NEVER struck out. His lifetime TTO percentage is 13.3, which is the lowest I've found for anyone with that many PA's (he's even lower than Harvey Kuenn)
   184. Batman Posted: June 17, 2014 at 04:53 PM (#4728772)
Nellie Fox's TTO percentage was 9.3 in about the same number of PA as Gwynn. Ozzie Guillen's was 10.9%, but in 3000 fewer PA. Luke Appling walked too much, so he was at 18.3. That's why the White Sox are universally recognized as historically the most exciting team in baseball.
   185. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 05:02 PM (#4728784)
the all-time anti TTO was Don Mandrake Mueller at 8.2% but he only had a little over 4500 PAs
   186. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 05:05 PM (#4728788)
for comparison, the league average TTO during Gwynn's career was around 25%. It began creeping upwards after he retired, and last year was over 30%
   187. AndrewJ Posted: June 17, 2014 at 06:36 PM (#4728838)
But OTOH statheads in the 90s probably underrated him. In actuality despite the relatively low walks totals the high average gave him a high OBP, though not an elite OBP like Boggs had.

When you strike out 20-25 times a season, managers can live with your walking only 40-50 times.
   188. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 07:46 PM (#4728891)

When you strike out 20-25 times a season, managers can live with your walking only 40-50 times.


There's no real benefit from not striking out, as compared with other types of outs.
   189. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:27 PM (#4728926)
In 1998, interleague play was new. And the Padres had not been in the playoffs in quite some time. I really don't have a big problem with a "typical" East Coast AL fan not being extremely familiar with Gwynn. I had only personally witnessed about a dozen Gwynn games.
   190. Booey Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:28 PM (#4728927)
There's no real benefit from not striking out, as compared with other types of outs.


Sure there is. You can move runners over, you can reach base on an error...
   191. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:21 PM (#4728977)
I'm just going to paraphrase a wonderful post I saw over at Fark that sums up my feelings quite well.. As a Dodger fan, I hated seeing Gwynn come up to the plate because he would do Tony Gwynn like things to the Dodgers.

As a baseball fan though, I loved watching Gwynn hit. Despite the laundry he wore, he was one of my favorite players. Yesterday stung a bit. He was one of those guys that was around when I was a little boy and was still playing when I was legally able to have my first drink.

FWIW, my buddy and I were in SD doing the TJ debauchery crap a while back and we decided to take in a Padres game since he hadn't been to PETCO yet. It happened to be the night that they retired Gwynn's jersey. It was fantastic, except that Leitner was the master of ceremonies.

Another FWIW, my dad umpires a tournament and Chris Gwynn was one of the coaches. Dad said he was one of the nicest guys and you would have never known he was a long time MLB player. Mr. and Mrs. Gwynn did a good job raising those boys it seems.
   192. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 11:23 PM (#4728978)
Sure there is. You can move runners over, you can reach base on an error...


You can hit into a double play.

On balance all different types of outs even out.
   193. bunyon Posted: June 18, 2014 at 08:42 AM (#4729070)
My brother's fiance's nephew who is on a high school varsity baseball team in California chews tobacco and he says a lot of other people do it his age :( Just terrible He says its just something you do. Why cant they do Big League Chew? i loved that stuff.

FWIW, I teach college kids and they smoke in about the same percentage my class did in college. A little less. And they're guilty and ashamed.

You'll never keep everyone from taking these things up, even if you outlaw it. Not that it isn't a worthy fight.

Thanks for the info on Gwynn in various parks.

As Ray said, the real shame is he was in a job he clearly loved and seemed to be good at. So many HOFers seem to just become crusty old farts or try to coach and can't. Crappy that one who could and did would pass so young.
   194. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: June 18, 2014 at 08:48 AM (#4729075)
On balance all different types of outs even out.

Haven't there been studies that this isn't true? I know the A's don't believe it to be true but they've decided that it's not worth trying to reinvent a hitter to someone who strikes out less--either trade him or accept him for who he is. It seems, logically, that the ops for strike outs is 0 where the ops for batted balls, even weak ass ones, has to be north of that. It's really bugging me that I can't remember where I read this or the specifics of what I read. Help please.
   195. Joe Bivens, Minor Genius Posted: June 18, 2014 at 08:53 AM (#4729078)
I'm not a big worrier about K's, but at the same time, I'd rather see the batter put the ball in play. Intuitively, there are less chances to GIDP than not, so make the fielders make plays.
   196. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 18, 2014 at 09:11 AM (#4729094)
For OPS+ Gwynn is tied for 140th on the career list with 25 other players, including Rico Carty, Rocky Colavito, Ryan Howard and Mo Vaughn. Obviously Gwynn's extreme value lies in great part due to his longevity.

And in being vastly superior in the field and on the bases than slugs like Howard and Vaughn. And in being healthier, despite not being particularly healthy, than Carty. And in being a superior MLB hitter in his mid and late 30's, unlike Colavito who tanked. That's ridiculous. The guys who he is most comparable to at the same OPS+ are Morgan and Palmeiro, not bums like Howard and Vaughn.


All I was reacting to was the idea that Gwynn was "the greatest hitter since Ted Williams", which is absurd, unless you measure hitting solely by batting average. Obviously his overall value is far greater than Howard, Vaughn & co.
   197. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 09:15 AM (#4729097)
Haven't there been studies that this isn't true? I know the A's don't believe it to be true but they've decided that it's not worth trying to reinvent a hitter to someone who strikes out less--either trade him or accept him for who he is. It seems, logically, that the ops for strike outs is 0 where the ops for batted balls, even weak ass ones, has to be north of that. It's really bugging me that I can't remember where I read this or the specifics of what I read. Help please.

I think the issue is confounded by the fact that the hitters who K a lot tend to be the power hitters who hit the ball really damn hard.

For any given hitter, in any given at bat, a strikeout is the worst "batted ball type" that can happen. 0 OPS as you say. Even a pop up runs into Luis Castillo once every 5 years.

But, it may not be worth trading off fewer strikeout for fewer hard hit balls (by cutting down your swing). Strikeoute may be bad, but it still may be impossible to "fix" a hitter who K's a lot.
   198. bobm Posted: June 18, 2014 at 09:30 AM (#4729111)
[194]

                                                            
          Split    G Year     PA  GDP   SH   SF  ROE BAbip
   Ball In Play 4862 2013 127307 3732 1383 1219 1549  .297
   199. Ron J2 Posted: June 18, 2014 at 09:47 AM (#4729126)
#194 Any difference is statistically insignificant. The model bbref uses (basically a linear weights approach) does in fact treat Ks separately, and also treats GIDP and ROE separately.

Basically what this does is tighten up the estimate at the second decimal place -- in something where the standard error for a full time player is in the range of 5 runs. Every time I've checked it's failed the statistical significance test. (Our own Jim Furtado's method treats Ks separately. They're 8/1000th of a run worse than generic outs. His model does not include reached on errors but does include GIDP and sac flies)

And if you think about it, it's easy to understand why it can't be a big deal. With nobody on all outs are equal. That's around 55% of all PAs (or was back when I last checked -- won't be hugely different these days). Roughly 33% of all PAs come with two outs. All outs are equal.

So roughly 73% of the time all outs are equal.

Of the remaining cases, well an out on a ground ball put in play is a lot more likely to hurt (DP) than help. And if the only baserunner is on first then a flyball isn't likely to advance the runner.

It's only when there are runners on 2nd, 3rd or 2nd and 3rd with fewer than 2 out that a K is clearly worse than a random out. And that works out to about 9% of all PAs.

But just putting the ball in play doesn't mean the batter can advance. There are foul out, line outs, shallow fly balls, ground balls in front of the runner, etc.

When you put it all together, there simply aren't enough productive outs, reached on errors and blown fielder's choices for it to matter much.

At the major league level that is. It's probably the only form of baseball where this is true. And even then, if you go back to the dead ball era you can't model team runs scored properly without
considering strikeouts. They are both negative *and* significant in the modelling of team runs scored (and metrics like OPS work substantially less well back then)

Error rates were much higher so the plus side of putting the ball in play was greater. DP rates were substantially lower. So the downside was less. And you'll see the same thing today at lower level ball.
   200. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 18, 2014 at 09:51 AM (#4729129)
When you put it all together, there simply aren't enough productive outs, reached on errors and blown fielder's choices for it to matter much.

But there's still the question if, a hitter could change his wing to K less, would he get enough additional base hits (on top of the ROEs and productive outs) to offset any loss of power.

That one is almost impossible to test.
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