Former San Diego Padre Tony Gwynn, regarded as both one of baseball's greatest pure hitters and most beloved players ever, passed away Monday morning surrounded by his family at Pomerado Hospital in Poway, California.
The 54-year-old first-ballot Hall of Famer had been battling cancer since it was detected in his salivary gland in 2010.
The affable, sweet-swinging Gwynn was an eight-time National League batting champion and played his entire 20-year career with the Padres, from whom he retired in 2001 with a team-record career batting average of .338.
His son, Tony Gwynn Jr., plays for the Philadelphia Phillies. "I always try to get in an 'I love you,'" he recently told Comcast SportsNet Philly, of his phone calls with his dad. "For a while that was uncomfortable for me, I don’t know why. But since 2010, it hasn’t been uncomfortable. It’s something I want to make sure I get in because you never know what's going to happen."