Tony Gwynn, RIP

Whoa.

Tony Gwynn (.338/.388/.459) has died at the age of 54. The first-ballot Hall of Famer had been battling salivary-gland cancer.

Gwynn’s .338 career batting average over 20 seasons — all of them with the Padres — is the highest since Ted Williams retired from the Red Sox in 1960 with a .344 average. Gwynn’s playing career ended in 2001, and since then he had been the head baseball coach for San Diego State University, where he starred in both baseball and basketball as a collegian, and a part-time analyst on Padres telecasts. . . . 

Gwynn’s battle with cancer began in 2009 when a malignant tumor was removed from his right cheek. Gwynn claimed that the cancer in the salivary gland was the result of his longtime habit of chewing tobacco. The cancer returned twice, and in the latter part of 2012 he again began radiation treatment in an attempt to shrink the tumor.

Gwynn underwent another round of surgery in early 2012 when the nerve that the tumor was wrapped around had to be replaced with one from his shoulder. In each case Gwynn valiantly fought back.

Rest in peace, Mr. Padre.

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