Tony Gwynn, the greatest pure hitter of his generation whose perfect left-handed swing won him eight batting titles and a litany of admirers across baseball, died Monday after years of battling cancer. He was 54.

Gwynn, who spent his entire 20-year career with the San Diego Padres, underwent multiple surgeries over the past four years to remove cancerous tumors from his mouth, blaming a smokeless tobacco habit. He took a leave of absence from his job as San Diego State's baseball coach in March to undergo further treatment.


Gwynn finished his major league career with 3,141 hits and a .338 batting average, the highest mark for a hitter since Ted Williams' career started in 1939. Gwynn arrived in the major leagues in 1982, a year after the Padres drafted him out of San Diego State, and never stopped hitting, spraying singles throughout stadiums across baseball, adding power as he grew into a 15-time All-Star and striking out at an almost inconceivable rate today, just 434 for his career over 9,288 at-bats.

The right-fielder was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007 with one of the highest voting percentages ever at 97.61 (532 of 545 ballots).

Rest In Peace Big Hitter, You Play With The Angels Now