Tuesday, December 20, 2005

WHO CARES?

Tony Gwynn is inarguably one of the very best players in baseball history. In honor of Tony Gwynn's long service to the San Diego Padres and the community, the address of the Padres' ballpark, Petco Park, is 19 Tony Gwynn Way. He is an eight-time National League batting champion, leading the league in 1984, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1994, 1995, 1996, and 1997, which ties him with the Pittsburgh Pirates' Honus Wagner for the league record. He is also a 15-time All-Star. Gwynn retired in 2001 with a total of 3,141 hits and a lifetime batting average of .338. He played his entire career with the Padres. Recognized as the most successful hitter of the past quarter-century, an interesting fact that has off lately popped us is that his amazing career has been overshadowed by the very mediocre career of Cal Ripken, Jr. Ain’t it surprising and mystifying that the best hitter of the past 25 years has retired under the shadow of a mediocre Cal Ripken, Jr. It's hard to believe, but that's exactly what happened in the 2001 baseball campaign. That season’s All-Star game was practically a Cal Ripken Memorial Game, which added even more "legacy" to the single, most over hyped player ever to play the game of baseball, but that doesn’t make him eligible to compared with Gwynn. Gwynn never came close to hitting as low Cal's career average of .276 in any season. Ripken, on the other hand, hit higher than Gwynn's career average only one time and that was a .340 season in which he had only 332 at bats. For all those Cal lovers that talk about his great defense at shortstop, it should be noted that Gwynn has 5 gold gloves. Gwynn has continuously brought along young players and is always willing to help opposing hitters better themselves. Also, Gwynn refused to take a spot on the All-Star team because he "didn't want to take the spot of a deserving player" - a remarkable story in this day in age.

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