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Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn dies of cancer

Gwynn was one of the best hitters of all time.

Donald Miralle

Career San Diego Padre and Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn died earlier today at the age of just 54 after a long battle with cancer.

Gwynn's career began back in 1982, but he became a full-time player in 1984 and made the National League All-Star team in that season and all but one of the fourteen that followed. One of the best contact hitters of all time, Gwynn hit .338/.388/.459 for his career. He was even better than that against the Mets, as he hit .356/.402/.486 in 809 plate appearances.

Gwynn retired after the 2001 season and was inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame in 2007. He continued working in baseball after that, but he was diagnosed with cancer of the mouth and salivary glands a few years ago—a diagnosis he attributed to his use of dipping tobacco—and succumbed to the illness today.

Those of us who got to see Gwynn play in person were lucky, and it's sad to see him go at such a young age.