‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ – Rod Carew VS Tony Gwynn

‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ – Rod Carew VS Tony Gwynn

I have a few more Head-To-Head ‘HOF Debates’ up my sleeve before we start other HOF-themed debates during our weekly Thursday night series.

Each week as I build one of these new ‘Head-to-Head’ match-ups, I try to predict what the outcome may be.  Some times I predict accurately, and some times I am horribly wrong.

So, I will be frank about this week’s debate – I HAVE NO CLUE HOW THIS ONE IS GOING TO DO!!!

Tonight, we debate Rod Carew VS Tony Gwynn.

Let’s look at their resumes:

Rod Carew Tony Gwynn
Seasons 19 20
Games 2,469 2,440
Hits 3,053 3,141
200 Hit Seasons 4 5
150-199 Hit Seasons 9 9
Batting Average 0.328 0.338
.300-.329 Seasons 5 10
.330+ Seasons 10 9
Batting Titles 7 8
On-Base % 0.393 0.388
.400 On-Base Seasons 8 6
Walks Drawn 1,018 790
Strikeouts 1,028 434
Doubles 445 543
Triples 112 85
Home Runs 92 135
Stolen Bases 353 319
Runs Scored 1,424 1,383
RBI 1,015 1,138
100-RBI Seasons 1 1
All-Star 18 15
Gold Glove 0 4
Silver Slugger 0 7
ROY 1 0
MVP 1 0
Postseasons 4 3
WS Titles 0 0


*Both players display some of most impressive offensive stats for a ‘non-power’ hitter that you will find.  Each guy dominated the league while in their primes, and their prime years lasted quite a bit longer than the average major leaguer.

Here are some of the standout stats for me:

  • 19 of Gwynn’s 20 seasons were spent hitting over .300.  15 for Carew
  • On-base percentage is unbelievably close
  • Carew drew 300+ more walks than Gwynn in just 29 more career games
  • Carew struck out 3 times as much as Gwynn and still just struck out every 2.5 games
  • Gwynn has 100 more doubles
  • Gwynn has 43 more home runs
  • Impressive to see both players with more than 300 steals
  • Carew was chosen as an All-Star in 18 of 19 seasons, Gwynn in 15 of 20
  • Gwynn captured 4 Gold Gloves to Carew’s 0
  • Tony Gwynn never won a ROY or MVP award for individual performance

Wow – What a battle!  I can honestly say that this one is extremely puzzling to me.

Ultimately, when making my choice, I am going with the player that I feel was most feared by the opposition.  And for me, that player is Tony Gwynn.  There is nothing wrong with choosing Rod Carew in this battle, and to be honest had I seen more of him in action like I did Gwynn, I may have given him my vote.  But for me, when watching games in which Gwynn played in, I recall how the opposition changed when he was there.  Entire game plans were established to keep him away from the plate.  I also recall quite a bit of commentary from the visiting team pour praise over Gwynn throughout the telecasts – something that is not common.

So, while I vote for Tony Gwynn in this ‘HOF Debate’, I would have to admit that had I been alive and watching major league action during Rod Carew’s career, I think that my vote could be swayed in his direction rather easily.


How about you?  Who gets your pick in this official ‘Battle For The Ages’???

I cannot wait to read your answers!!!


18 responses to “‘Hall Of Fame Debate’ – Rod Carew VS Tony Gwynn

  1. I’m really glad that my vote will not keep somebody from getting in the Hall. This is another tough one. I’m going to have to go with Gwynn. He hit .300 in all but one season. He also had better power numbers while striking out less.

  2. This is the best head to head debate you’ve had! I’m going with Tony Gwynn on this question. Gwynn hit over .350 seven times in his career!! It sucks that the strike in 1994 took away his chance to become the first .400 AVG since Ted Williams.

  3. I was fortunate to see both men play. This is a difficult one. Baseball was slightly different between Carew’s early years and Gwynnn’s mid to later years. A hard choice to make. I would welcome either man on my team. Carew is my choice by an ever so slight margin.


  4. Gwynn, and with no disrespect to Mr. Carew, its a no brainer. So many numbers to compare, but here’s one that always sticks out to me 434 k’s in… 20 SEASONS? Are you kidding me? That dude hated striking out.

    Also, runs and RBI might be higher if he wasn’t on so many horrible Padres teams.

  5. Gwynn, best hitter of my era.

  6. Another awesome matchup Brian! GWYNN. As others have already stated, 434 UK’s in 20 seasons, amazing….in other words, the same number of strikeouts for Adam Dunn in two seasons. Batters striking out hurts a team more than anything, except hitting into double plays. Gwynn but the ball in play better than anyone.

  7. This is a brute choice to make. I tried looking at several different peripheral stats to make a choice, and even those stats are to close…… I’m going with Rod Carew……….I’d like to give a well thought out answer to prove Carew was better, but I don’t have one. They are just super close. I take Carew.

  8. At first glance at the numbers, Gwynn get’s my nod. I really think he was a remarkable player. But, I saw a ton of Rodney growing up as a Minnesota kid. I think he was every bit feared by the opposition as Gwynn with his ability to embarrass infielders with his bunts, and ability to drive the ball. He could take the extra base like nobody in his era. Factor in also, he came up in ’67 as a 20, 21-yr old straight from A ball, hardly a finished product, and didn’t hit his stride until his third season, when he won his first batting title (.332). You need to account for eras as well; team batting averages were down as the ’60s and well into the ’70s as pitching dominated. Carew won a batting title in ’72 with .318, to illustrate the point. Gwynn was a magnificent worker, a studier of video (an advantage Carew never had), and played in an offense-rich era. I tend to pick Carew, while hastening to say I saw far less of Tony.

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