Category Archives: Tony Gwynn Collection

Remembering And Celebrating The Magnificent Career Of Tony Gwynn

Remembering And Celebrating The Magnificent Career Of Tony Gwynn

Like most baseball fans across the globe, I took today’s news of Tony Gwynn’s death as a shock.  And while I had read prior reports about his health and battle with cancer, I did not expect his life to end today.

In a fog for a few hours after, I began recalling watching my generation’s greatest hitter perform at a level I have never seen duplicated.

Gwynn was as likable as any sports star in the 1980s and 1990s.  He smiled on the field, he did his job well, he was loyal to his organization – and best of all, he always worked harder with the goal of getting better.

Tonight, as I sit here, I wanted to share a few pieces of my personal collection that honors Mr. Padre.  I do this with a heavy heart, but also while sporting a smile for Tony Gwynn helped shape my love for the game during my youth.  And when I collected cards as a kid, and now again as a man and father of two young boys, I always try to grab cards of him for he was one of the best.

The first major league game that I ever attended was on a family vacation in 1985 to San Diego with my parents.   This is the ticket stub from the game – Gwynn went 1-for-4 on the day with a double.  I was 9 years old on this date – and already a Tony Gwynn fan.

gwynn ticket stub

When I got back into collecting baseball cards in 2008, one of the first players I decided to honor was Mr. Gwynn.  I put together a pretty good-sized collection of major brand cards from his playing days – from his rookie cards of 1983 through to the end of his career.

gwynn-collection

And one year for Christmas, my wife and kids surprised me with a Tony Gwynn signed ball for my collection.

And in a collection of 100+ signed baseballs, my Gwynn ball rests on the top row of the lot alongside such greats as Nolan Ryan and Dave Winfield.

Gwynn signed ball

Lastly, when my family and I took a vacation to Southern California in 2012, I made going to see a Padres game a priority.  And while Mr. Gwynn was obviously not playing, I certainly did my best to acknowledge and celebrate him by sporting a t-shirt with his name and jersey number on the back as I visited and had my picture taken with his statue at Petco Park.

Tony Gwynn Statue

Mr. Gwynn, I hope that you are finally resting comfortably.  Please know that you have impacted not just my life, but the lives of millions and millions of baseball fans and people across this country.  The joy we got by watching you play a sport we love at the highest level is something I am unable to put into words.

You may be gone now, but you will never be forgotten.  Rest in peace.

What Tony Gwynn Rookie Card Is Your Favorite?? Topps, Fleer, or Donruss??

What Tony Gwynn Rookie Card Is Your Favorite??  Topps, Fleer, or Donruss??

One of the best things about collecting baseball cards that honor the players of my youth is the limited number of rookie cards that came out during that time.  In the early 1980’s, it was just the big three – Topps, Fleer, and Donruss.  If you were able to score the rookie cards of your favorite player from those three brands, your collection was complete.  Nowadays, your favorite player may have more than three versions of his rookie card in one single set….

Back to Gwynn – his rookie season was 1983 and he had a rookie card in each set that year.

Here are the three:

Topps

gwynn 83 topps

Fleer

gwynn 83 fleer

Donruss

gwynn 83 donruss

So, which one do you like the most??  Which one takes you right back to your childhood when packs could be bought for $0.50 and had either gum, stickers, or puzzle pieces included in them?

For me, it is the Topps card.  I like action cards, and while this one is not a superb image, it is at least showing some action.  I also really like the color combination that Topps used for their famous ’83 design.

gwynn 83 topps

How about you?  Which one is your favorite Tony Gwynn rookie card??

Tony Gwynn & The Hall Of Fame Class Of 2007

Tony Gwynn & The Hall Of Fame Class Of 2007

Tony Gwynn was elected into the National Baseball Hall Of Fame in 2007. Of the 545 votes cast, Gwynn collected 532; good for 97.6%.

The plaque reads:

“An artisan with a bat whose daily pursuit of excellence produced a .338 lifetime batting average, 3,141 hits, and a National League record-tying eight batting titles. Consistency was his hallmark, hitting .300 in 19 of 20 major league seasons, including .394 in 1994. Renowned for his ability to hit to all fields, frequently collecting opposite-field base hits between third base and shortstop. Struck out just once for every 21 at-bats. A 15-time All-star and 5-time Gold Glove winner. Hit .371 in two World Series – 1984 and 1998.”

Tony Gwynn’s Lifetime Batting Average = .338

Tony Gwynn’s Lifetime Batting Average = .338

Tony Gwynn’s career .338 batting average leaves him in rare company. Sitting in a tie for 18th place on the all-time list, Gwynn is the lone player to play during the 1980’s and 1990’s in the Top 25.

The guys around Gwynn’s .338? Lou Gehrig, George Sisler, Babe Ruth, and Ted Williams. You may have heard of one of them; maybe… :)

Tony Gwynn & The ‘3,000 Hits Club’

Tony Gwynn & The ‘3,000 Hits Club’

Date of entry into “Club 3,000″ – August 6, 1999

The Story – On the road, and across the US border, Gwynn and his Padres teammates were taking on the Expos in Montreal. And in front of just 13,540 fans, Gwynn became a member of the ‘3,000 Hits Club’. Coming into the game, Gwynn was hitting a solid .326 on the year. But on this night in Montreal, he went 4-for-5 as he collected 4 singles against the Expos. The 8-time batting champ accomplished this rare and amazing baseball feat in just 18 big league seasons as he averaged more than 166 hits in each campaign.

Baseball History – Tony Gwynn will go down as one of the sport’s greatest contact hitters of all time. He retired with a career batting average of .338 and his 3,141 hits ranks him in 18th place on the all-time list.

Tony Gwynn & His 8 Batting Titles

Tony Gwynn & His 8 Batting Titles

We all know that Tony Gwynn’s skill at the plate was unparalleled.

Let’s get right to the numbers that help confirm what we already know…

.351 in 1984

.370 in 1987

.313 in 1988

.336 in 1989

.394 in 1994

.368 in 1995

.353 in 1996

.372 in 1997

WHOA!!!

Tony Gwynn Is A 5-Time Gold Glove Award Winner!!

Tony Gwynn Is A 5-Time Gold Glove Award Winner!!

Never known for being fleet of foot, most discussion about Tony Gwynn and his ability to dominate the sport spoke of his immense ability to make contact at the plate.

But Tony Gwynn was also a solid, and sometimes elite, defender. Awarded with five Gold Gloves for excellence in defense, Gwynn rounded out his play with solid effort in the outfield. From 1986-1999, Gwynn won five award in those six seasons.

Not too shabby for the guy known as the best hitter in the last 40 years. Not too shabby at all…