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Tony Gwynn Passed Yesterday

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On just about every sports related show on radio and TV today remembered one of the best hitters in the history of baseball who passed away yesterday at the all-too-young age of 54 from cancer. The cancer was in the salivary gland in his mouth and Gwynn said himself in the days before his death, "baseball was the death of me". This is a direct reference to his use of smokeless tobacco throughout his career. He is said to have tried to give it up but he wasn't ever able to. He even snuck out of his house at night to go buy a can of Skoal at a local convenience store. His wife even threatened to leave him but he just could stop dipping.

I would suggest you go to Wikipedia and the many rememberances of Gwynn to that came out today. It's really true that as good a player Gwynn was he was a better person. The stories are many and I've enjoyed hearing and reading about them all day.

If anything positive comes of Gwynn's premature death then I hope it's that it brings a greater awareness of the dangers of smokeless tobacco. It's a nasty habit as anyone who has stumbled across a dipper's spit cup can attest. If this causes lives to be saved then I'm sure Gwynn would be the first to be okay with what happened to him.

Our prayers for his family. Gwynn was married to Alicia Gwynn, and was the father of rhythm-and-blues singer Anisha Nicole and major league outfielder Tony Gwynn, Jr., whose major league debut (with the Milwaukee Brewers) and first major league hit on July 19, 2006 came 24 years to the day of his father's first major league hit—each Gwynn hit a double.[119] Gwynn also had three granddaughters. His brother, Chris, was also a major league outfielder.[120] Both Chris and Tony, Jr. played with the Padres during their careers. Until Gwynn's death he split time between homes in Poway, California and Fishers, Indiana.

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Man was an absolute magician with the bat. I first started watching baseball in the mid 90s when I was 7-8 years old so all of my memories of Gwynn are from the back 1/3 of his career...yet still then he wowed me with great he was at his craft...I always remember thinking why is this guy who has a bigger body type a slap hitter...then you see his average up over .350 and you think...oh well I'll take that. Not that I enjoy the reason they are posted but I have also enjoyed the statistics tweeted the last few days...probably my favorite is against Greg Maddox, who many consider the greatest pitcher of the Gwynn generation, Gwynn hit .415 against him in 107 plate appearances with 0 Ks...in fact in he had 323 at bats against Maddox, Pedro Martinez, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz and he combined for 3 Ks (2 to Glavine and 1 to Smoltz). Most he struck out against one pitcher was, understandably, strikeout king Nolan Ryan with 9...no one else struck him out more than 6 times.


The fact of how he died kind of hits home for me...I started dipping when I was 17 and continued the habit for 6 years until I met my wife. I quit in 2011 but had recently started again in 2013 but had to quit for my current job I started this February. I always told myself it wasn't addictive and I could stop at anytime...which I could for a week or so then I would get bored and get a new can...luckily I've been able to stay away from it since then so hopefully it will be for good.

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