Baseball lost an all-time great earlier today when Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn passed away following a battle with salivary gland cancer. Gwynn was the greatest pure hitter of his generation and I still feel he’s underrated. His career .338 average is the highest by any player who began his career after Lou Gehrig retired, he was hitting .394 at the time of the 1994 strike, and he never struck out more than 40 times in a season. If you haven’t taken a second to look at his Baseball Reference page today, make sure you do it now.
Gwynn only played two career games in Yankee Stadium, both during the 1998 World Series. He went 8-for-16 with the homer you see above in the series, never striking out once. It’s hard to believe 13 people left him off their Hall of Fame ballots a few years ago. Gwynn attributed his cancer to using chewing tobacco throughout his career, and while MLB has already taken steps to curtail chewing tobacco use, maybe this will push them towards getting it out of the game completely. Gwynn is gone way too early at age 54.
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Here is your open thread for the off-night. The Mets are playing and both the World Cup (ESPN) and College World Series (ESPN2) are being played. USA is playing their first World Cup game right now and both UC Irvine 1B Connor Spencer and Vanderbilt SS Vince Conde are playing in tonight’s CWS game. The Yankees drafted them in the eighth and ninth rounds, respectively. Talk about those games, Gwynn, or anything else right here.