Former MLB star Tony Gwynn died on Monday. TMZ was one of the first sites to reports on the former San Diego Padres’ hitter’s passing this morning and reports indicate he has been battling cancer for several years now. Gwynn’s son currently plays for the Philadelphia Phillies.
Gwynn, 54, played 19 years for the Padres. He had a .338 batting average over his career while piling up 3,141 hits. His career culminated in a 2007 Baseball Hall of Fame induction. There is actually a statue outside of the ballpark in San Diego with “Mr. Padre” engraved on it.
Gwynn died at a hospital in California early Monday morning with his family surrounding him. According to his agent, John Boggs, Gwynn was in a tough battle these last few years. He said that Gwynn suffered a lot but he never stopped fighting.
Gwynn started his career at San Diego State and the San Diego Padres drafted him in the third round of the 1981 MLB Draft. Despite being a 15-time all-star, a five-time gold glove winner and an eight-time batting champion, Gwynn never chased bigger money anywhere else and played all 20 years of his career in San Diego. That is a big reason why he is still revered there as a legend.
His son took to Twitter following his father’s death and said that he didn’t just lose his dad, but also his best friend and mentor. He then promised to do everything in his power to do what he knows would make his father proud.
Tony Gwynn said that he believed that his cancer was from years of using chewing tobacco. He was diagnosed with cancer of the salivary glands in 2007. In 2010 and 2012 he underwent surgery in his right cheek. Gwynn had just signed a one-year contract last Wednesday to coach the San Diego State baseball team.