I've always made fun of the San Diego Padres. They spent many years stockpiling as many over the hill Dodgers players as possible, including Steve Garvey when he was way past his sell by date. One Padre I never made fun of was Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn who died today at the depressingly young age of 54.
The Padres had never been within sniffing distance of a championship until Gwynn joined the team and led them to their only World Series appearances in 1984 and 1998. Gwynn was a professional hitter who won 8 National League batting titles and finished with a lifetime batting average of .338, which is the highest of any player whose career started after World War II. That is not a misprint.
Gwynn was a singles hitter and a terrific fielder but what I remember most about him was his joy in playing a kids game for a living. The man had a mega watt smile and even looked good when the Padres wore that hideous shit brown polyester Taco Bell looking uniform in the 1980's. He played for the same team for 20 years, a feat that's increasingly rare. In short, he was a gamer. He'll be missed.