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Tony Gwynn

"mr. Padre"

Gwynn started his professional career in the Padres' farm system in Washington, Texas, Hawaii, and Nevada before being brought up to San Diego on July 19, 1982. He debuted against the Philadelphia Phillies' champion hitter Pete Rose, who was so impressed with Gwynn's hitting that he said, "What are you trying to do, catch me after one night?"

During the 1982 and 1983 seasons, Gwynn suffered the first of several injuries that would cause him to miss games during his career. In August 1982 he broke his left wrist while catching a fly ball and then broke his right wrist playing winter baseball in Puerto Rico. By mid-1983, however, he was back with the Padres and finished the season with a .309 average.

In 1984, Gwynn took the first of his National League batting championship titles, with a .351 average and 213 hits. He came in third in voting for the league's Most Valuable Player (MVP), even though the Padres lost the 1984 World Series to the Detroit Tigers.


1960 Born May 9 in Los Angeles, California
1977-81 Plays point guard for San Diego State University basketball team
1979-81 Plays baseball with San Diego State University Aztecs
1980 As Aztec, bats .423, with six home runs
1981 As Aztec, bats .416, with 11 home runs; is drafted by San Diego Padres pro baseball team and San Diego Clippers pro basketball team on same day (June 10); marries Alicia Cureton (they will have two children, Anthony II and Anisha Nicole); begins career with Padres with Walla Walla team in Rookie Northwest League, where he is named Most Valuable Player
1982 Plays first major league game, on July 19; breaks wrist and misses three weeks' play
1983 A second wrist injury stalls season, but Gwynn finishes batting .309, with team-record 25-game hitting streak
1984 Leads team to National League Championship Series against Chicago Cubs
1985 Injures wrist again, but makes All-Star team for second time
1986 Wins first of five Gold Glove Awards; ties a major-league record with five stolen bases on September 20
1987 Hits .370, with Padres record 218 hits, highest batting average since Stan Musial's .376 in 1948
1988 In spite of two injuries, has 18-game hitting streak and finishes with .318 average
1989 Has another All-Star, Gold Glove season, in spite of wrist and Achilles tendon injuries; files for bankruptcy, citing problems caused by his accountant
1990 Fractures index finger and misses 19 games but still bats above .300; tensions develop between him and some Padres team members, and a Gwynn figurine is found in the dugout with its arms and legs torn off; negotiates a five-year, $16.25 million contract with Padres
1991 Loses 21 games to arthroscopic surgery on left knee, bats above .300
1992-93 Has two more knee surgeries but records 2,000th hit in 1993; father dies in winter of 1993
1994 Has difficult year after loss of his father; stops training after fourth knee surgery; friend Eric Show dies of drug overdose; Major League Players Association strike halts season on August 12, as Gwynn is near to hitting .400 for season
1995 Bats .368 and has award-winning season; receiving honors for both baseball and charitable work
1996 Injures right heel and misses 56 games but bats .353 and hits a two-out, two-run eighth-inning single that he calls biggest hit of his career
1997 At age 37, has finest season of his career, batting .372; Padres extend his contract through 2000; Tony Gwynn Stadium opens as new home of the San Diego State University baseball program
2001 At age 41, announces retirement from professional baseball on June 28, effective at the end of the season; is named head baseball coach at San Diego State University (SDSU) on September 20, effective June 1, 2003—he will work as a volunteer coach during the 2002 school year; begins building Church's Chicken franchise restaurants through his company Gwynn Sports

Awards and Accomplishments

The Lou Gehrig Memorial Award is presented annually to the major league player who best exemplifies the leadership and character of the late Lou Gehrig, Hall of Fame first baseman
1980 Named third team All-American by Baseball News
1981 Named College All-American and first team All-Western Athletic Conference outfielder; named Most Valuable Player in Rookie Northwest League
1984, 1986-87, 1989, 1994 Named to Sporting News National League All-Star Team
1984, 1987-89, 1994-97 National League Batting Champion
1984-87, 1989-96 Voted to All-Star Game
1984, 1986-87, 1989, 1994-95, 1997 Given Sporting News Silver Slugger Award
1984, 1986-88, 1994-95, 1997 Voted San Diego Padres' Most Valuable Player
1984-99 Named to National League All-Star Team
1986-87, 1989-91 Gold Glove Award for outfield
1995 Branch Rickey Award for most community service in major league baseball; San Diego Padres' Chairman's Award for community service
1997 San Diego State University dedicated new baseball stadium in Gwynn's name
1997-99 San Diego State University recipient of Roberto Clemente Award for combining excellence in playing with community service and sportsmanship
1999 Recipient of Phi Delta Theta's Lou Gehrig Memorial Award
1999 Inducted into World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame
1999 Recorded 3,000th career hit on August 6

Additional topics

Famous Sports StarsBaseballTony Gwynn Biography - Young Athlete, "mr. Padre", Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments, Tony On Tape, Winning Through The Pain - CONTACT INFORMATION