Crasnick: A memorable encounter with Mr. Padre

From SABR member Jerry Crasnick at on June 17, 2014:

The reflections on Tony Gwynn’s life will inevitably focus on his eight career batting titles, his spirited debates on hitting with Ted Williams and the artistry he summoned to line all those singles between shortstop and third base — the patch of dirt he lovingly referred to as the “5.5 hole.” And that makes perfect sense, because Gwynn’s skill with a bat defined him through two decades in the majors and carried him to Cooperstown in 2007 with 97.6 percent of the vote.

But for those of us in the media who were fortunate enough to talk to him, laugh with him and marvel at him for much of his career with the San Diego Padres, there are other, more personal touches that made him distinct, special and, for want of a better word, unforgettable.

You could start with that trademark cackle that rose from the gut and sent a surge of energy and wisdom through a clubhouse. When Barry Bonds made a habit of coming to the All-Star Game each summer and glaring at reporters who approached his locker, it was Gwynn who advised him that life was short and it was in the best interest of everyone for him to be more welcoming and open-minded.

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Originally published: June 17, 2014. Last Updated: June 17, 2014.