Tony Gwynn, R.I.P. A role model's role model
Tony Gwynn, baseball's greatest hitter since Ted Williams, died last week at the age of 54. In a 20-year career, he won eight batting titles (two more than Williams), five Gold Gloves, was a 15-time All-Star and hit over .300 for 19 straight seasons.
Baseball fans mourned his passing for none of those reasons. They mourned because Tony Gwynn was an even better person than he was a player.
Gwynn's kindness and generosity were as legendary as his hitting.
A former San Diego Padres batboy detailed on Deadspin.com how Gwynn would play catch with the batboys, give them pointers, and treat them to a pair of sneakers and $500 each at the end of the season.
Fans said he always had time to sign autographs. After retirement, he volunteered as an assistant baseball coach at his alma mater.
Gwynn, "Mr. Padre," played his entire career in San Diego, giving up huge free agent payouts to stay there.
One fan called him "the face of loyalty." In the way he lived and played, he set an example for all young men to live up to. R.I.P.