Baseball lost a great one Monday when oral cancer took the life of former San Diego Padres legend Tony Gwynn.
“It’s a tough day,” said Twins hitting coach and fellow Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, according to the Star Tribune. “He was a very humble guy. Obviously very talented, but in times like this, you think more about the man than [his] ability. He was a gracious guy who gave back to his community throughout his career, and seemed to keep great balance in his life.”
Gwynn's death hit home for Dave Winfield, who was a star for the Padres from 1973-1980 after being taken fourth overall out of the University of Minnesota in the 1973 amateur draft.
Gwynn was a remarkable hitter. The man nicknamed "Mr. Padre" never struck out more than 40 times in a season. In fact, he struck out an average of just 29 times a season.
“It’s crazy,” Joe Mauer said, via the Pioneer Press. “I didn’t know that. I knew he didn’t strike out very much, but 20 a year, that’s crazy. Wow.”
That's coming from Mauer, who despite his struggles this season, strikes out an average of 80 times a season – and he's considered one of the purest hitters baseball has seen over the last decade.
Torii Hunter, who now plays for the Tigers, told Fox Sports that Gwynn made an impact on him when he was a youngster coming up with the Twins.
"He was awesome," Hunter said. "He didn't have to talk to this young guy named Torii. He shared some information as far as playing the game, hitting. That's something that I will cherish forever, just like all the other players that kind of poured into me. He's one of those guys. I definitely think that he's gonna be missed. I know he will."
Michael Cuddyer, now with the Rockies, never got a chance to meet Gwynn, but was impressed by Gwynn's ability to hit against some of the best pitchers of all-time.
"I saw a stat today, Facing (Greg) Maddux, (John) Smoltz, (Tom) Glavine and Pedro Martinez... 323 at-bats, he struck out three times," Cuddyer told CBS Denver.
Click here to see more of Gwynn's incredible career statistics.