With the All-Star game in San Diego this season, it’s impossible not to think about San Diego Padres legendary outfielder Tony Gwynn. The Hall of Famer earned the nickname “Mr. Padre” after spending 20 exceptional seasons with the club. No player personifies the Padres better than Gwynn.
Though Gwynn died due to salivary gland cancer in 2014, his impact around the game is still felt today. That love and respect doesn’t just come from San Diego fans, it also comes from current players and even some of Gwynn’s former opponents.
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One of those opponents was Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz, who just so happened to be in the booth calling the All-Star game. During a lull in the action, Smoltz managed to sum up Gwynn’s dominance at the plate with one fantastic stat.
And as John Smoltz said, they only struck him out THREE times. pic.twitter.com/xE3F2sqwqh
— Brett Hansen (@bretthansen5) July 13, 2016
Yes, you’re reading that correctly, Gwynn absolutely destroyed the Braves infamous pitching trio from the ’90s. He was 30-for-65 (.462) with two home runs against Smoltz, 39-for-91 (.429) off Greg Maddux and went 29-for-93 (.312) with two home runs against Tom Glavine.
That might be three separate stats, but consider his overall performance against all three players. Pretty impressive, right?
All three of those pitchers are currently enshrined in the Hall of Fame. At the plate, Gwynn treated them as if they were Triple-A fodder.
There’s a reason Rob Manfred renamed the National League Batting Champion award after Tony Gwynn just prior to the start of the game.
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