Today marks 60 years since Tony Gwynn was born. One of the greatest hitters to ever grace the game of baseball with his presence, it's only right to honor the man who boasts a treasure trove of outlandish stats with his own blog. No need to mix him in with the mere mortals who happened to stumble into some luck every now and then. Gwynn didn't need luck. Just a stick and his two eyes were enough to compile some of the most absurd statistical marks I've ever seen.
Greg Maddux is on the short list of candidates for "pitcher of his generation." He could work around anyone, anywhere, at any time. Except for Fucking Tony Gwynn.
But Maddux wasn't the only Hall of Fame arm who couldn't figure out how to work around Gwynn. It was actually all of them who would toss their best and be scratching their heads as Gwynn stood atop first.
143 at bats against Pedro and Maddux with ZERO strikeouts is preposterous. That would be like if the season started April 1, Gwynn only faced Pedro or Maddux every at bat until right now, he'd hit somewhere in the high .300s with no Ks. Speaking of strikeouts.
They just didn't appear to interest Gwynn much. Why strikeout when you could simply put the ball in play? Better yet, hit the ball where the opposing players are not standing. Feels extremely simple, so simple I'm not quite sure why Gwynn was the only one to crack this code. Here are the stats the MLB felt best exhibited how absurd Gwynn really was.
-19 straight seasons hitting above .300. An MLB record.
-One (1) time he struck out three times in a single game. Just once. ONE TIME.
-In 1994 Gwynn hit .397 with two strikes on him. The rest of baseball hit .195 with two strikes. Over .100 points fewer than his career .302 average with two strikes. Silly.
"Yeah, but how good was this guy if he never even hit .400?"
Gwynn must have really shit the bed on May 10th to bring that below .400 huh. What a bum! Guy couldn't keep a .400 average for two entire calendar years? Pffft. I'm sorry I've wasted everyone's time today. During Mother's Day Weekend no less.
This one might be my favorite right now. Baseball is such a comically old sport. That's part of what makes stat hunting so enjoyable. Since there is such a massive sample of games and players that when something rare happens it feels that much more special. But then there's this. Gwynn isn't the only player to compile 3,100 hits with under 500 strikeouts. He's just the only one to do it since they cured Polio and invented movies with sound that wasn't just a guy playing piano in the theater.
And while you can find these stats and many others littered all over the world wide web today, you'll only be able to find this next one here: Tony Gwynn is the only player in Major League Baseball history to make the San Diego Padres relevant. Rest in peace to the legend. Happy Birthday, King.