Outfielder Tony Gwynn was one of the most unique hitters of his time. A lefty who made a career out of primarily hitting line drives between the third baseman and shortstop, Gwynn managed to compile 3,141 hits in his career while posting a .338 batting average. This is nearly unheard of in today’s baseball world. Gwynn was truly one-of-a-kind and these five interesting factual statistics prove just how good he was.
Strike Shortened 1994 Season
Had the players been able to come to an agreement in 1994 Gwynn could have had a season for the record books. Even though they didn’t play the full 162 game season, he managed to put together a few statistics worth mentioning. In 419 at-bats Gwynn hit .394 with a .454 on-base percentage. Those both led the league along with his 165 hits. Despite those amazing numbers, in particular almost hitting .400, Gwynn still led the league in double plays grounded into with 20.
Three Straight Batting Titles…Twice
Gwynn had two streaks of three straight batting titles. From 1987-1989 he led the league in hitting with batting averages of .370, .313, and .336. From 1994-1997 he actually held four straight batting titles with averages of .394, .368, .353, and .372. These two streaks also don’t include his 1984 season where he led the league with a .351 batting average.
Never an MVP
Perhaps playing for the San Diego Padres for his entire career limited how nationally known he was, but Gwynn never finished higher than third in the MVP voting. His eight batting titles and seven times leading the league in hits was never enough to sway the majority of voters to call him the best in the National League.
One thing Gwynn did that nobody seems to do anymore is walk more than he struckout. Only in his first season in 1982 did he have more strikeouts than walks: 16 strikeouts to 14 walks. All other 19 seasons he spent in Major League Baseball he drew more walks than times he had the umpire call strike three on him. Even more impressive he frequently struckout less than 20 times a season. His career high in strikeouts came in 1988 when it still only happened 40 times.
A Golden Glove
A big aspect of Gwynn’s game he rarely gets credit for is his glove. Gwynn won four Gold Gloves in his career. The only thing to stop him from winning more was age, which for most people slows them down a bit. Remember that Gwynn stole 56 bases in 1987. He wasn’t always just a pure hitter. The man was a baseball player.
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