Baseball great Tony Gwynn, one of the top hitters of all time, has died of cancer, ESPN reports. Gwynn, who played his entire 20-season career with the San Diego Padres, was 54.
Gwynn, who had 3,141 hits during his Hall of Fame career, died early today at a hospital in Poway, Calif.
"The lefty-swinging Gwynn, nicknamed Mr. Padre, had a career .338 batting average, won eight National League batting titles and played in the franchise's only two World Series," the story reports.
In a statement, baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said: "Major League Baseball today mourns the tragic loss of Tony Gwynn. The greatest Padre ever and one of the most accomplished hitters that our game has ever known, whose all-around excellence on the field was surpassed by his exuberant personality and genial disposition in life.
Selig's statement adds: "For more than 30 years, Tony Gwynn was a source of universal goodwill in the National Pastime, and he will be deeply missed by the many people he touched."
ESPN notes: "Gwynn had been signed to a one-year contract extension as the baseball coach at San Diego State on Wednesday. He had been on medical leave since late March while recovering from cancer treatment. He took over the program at his alma mater after the 2002 season."
Gwynn had said that he thought he got his cancer from chewing tobacco.
"He had two operations for cancer in his right cheek between August 2010 and February 2012. The second surgery was complicated, with surgeons removing a facial nerve because it was intertwined with a tumor inside his right cheek. They grafted a nerve from Gwynn's neck to help him eventually regain facial movement," the story reports.
Gwynn was a 15-time All-Star, whose .338 career batting average ranks 18th all time.
"Gwynn hit safely in 1,838 games — which amount to 75.3 percent of those in which he played. In addition, Gwynn had 951 multihit games, reached hitting streaks of at least 10 games on 33 different occasions and had only 34 multistrikeout games. In fact, he had only one career game with three or more strikeouts," the ESPN story notes.
He was incducted into the Pro Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007.