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Here's Why Tony Gwynn Was One Of The Greatest Hitters Ever

There are few ballplayers in the history of Major League Baseball that were as skilled in the batters box than Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, who passed away on Monday. Throughout his 20 years in the league, Gwynn would wield his bat and give opposing pitchers nightmares while putting up astounding numbers on the stat sheet.

It can be no coincidence that Gwynn developed a strong friendship with another one of the all-time great hitters, Ted Williams. In fact, Gwynn has often been referred to as the greatest hitter since Williams.

If you need proof of that -- besides his eight National League batting titles, career .338 batting average, seven Silver Slugger awards and 3,141 career hits -- check out some of these eye-popping stats and facts.

  • Every other player who had a career batting average of .338 or better played before 1940, per Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports.
  • Gwynn faced Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Pedro Martinez and John Smoltz a combined 323 times. He struck out only three times (two to Glavine, two to Smoltz and NEVER against Maddux or Pedro), per Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports.

  • Gwynn never struck out more than 40 times in a season.
  • Gwynn hit below .300 just once in his career, his rookie season.
  • Gwynn struck out less than 20 times in six straight seasons with a career-low 15 times in 1995. 97 players struck out 20 or more times in May of 2014 alone (H/T to For The Win).
  • If Gwynn went 0 for 4 for the next 295 games he would still have a career average over .300, per High Heat Stats MLB.
  • Gwynn only had one 3-strikeout game, per SportsCenter.
  • Gwynn had five seasons where he had more stolen bases than strikeouts.
  • From 1988 to 2001, Gwynn hit .302 in two-strike counts, per Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com. The second best batting average in two-strike counts since 1988 was by Wade Boggs, via Big League Stew.
  • Gwynn only struck out 434 times... in 10,232 plate appearances.
  • Gwynn had 45 career four-hit games. He only had 34 multi-strikeout games, per Big League Stew.
  • Gwynn led the National League in hits in seven different seasons.
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