Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn Dead at 54

Former Padres great succumbs to cancer

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jun 16, 2014 11:18 AM CDT

(Newser) Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn has died of cancer at 54 in the San Diego suburb of Poway, his agent tells the AP. The outfielder's sweet left-handed swing and undying loyalty to the San Diego Padres made him one of San Diego's best-loved athletes—he was nicknamed "Mr. Padre" during his 20-year major league career. "My baseball card looks awesome because it has San Diego all the way down," Gwynn once remarked, according to Baseball Almanac. He had been on a medical leave from his job as baseball coach at San Diego State, his alma mater, since late March.

Gwynn 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. During his career Gwynn won seven Silver Slugger awards, to go along with five Gold Gloves, while racking up 3,141 hits.

In this Oct. 7, 2001 file photo, Padres' Tony Gwynn fights back tears as he acknowledges the standing ovation during the final game of his career in San Diego.   (Lenny Ignelzi)
In this July 12, 1994 file photo, Tony Gwynn leaps in the air after sliding home safely to score the winning run as Ivan Rodriguez stands by in the 10th inning of the MLB All-Star Game.   (Carlos Osorio)
In this Jan. 9, 2007 file photo, former San Diego Padre Tony Gwynn talks about his election to the National Baseball Hall Of Fame, in San Diego.   (Lenny Ignelzi)
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