For the history of this series, check out this article: Check You Out On the Flip Side: Howard Johnson.
First things first, Tony Gwynn loves San Diego. Not only did he spend his entire 20-season career in the beautiful whale’s vagina, but he went to college there and was drafted by the basketball team. Oh, yeah, he also, currently, coaches San Diego State University’s baseball team.
Second things second, someone my age—who didn’t really know baseball in the late ‘80s—thinks of Tony Gwynn as this slow slap hitter that didn’t do much besides hit singles. Kind of like an Ichiro without speed or Wade Boggs.
When, in fact, judging by Gwynn’s prowess at basketball he was an incredibly athletic dude. From 1984 – 1990, he averaged 32 steals per season. Meanwhile, from 2005 – 2010, Ichiro averaged just five steals more per season.
This card really made me re-think the way I looked at Gwynn’s career. Certainly, I had mad respect for the guy, especially when his career compares favorably to Rod Carew, Boggs, Roberto Clemente and George Sisler. But I always saw him as the most boring of one-dimensional station-to-station players. That simply isn’t the case of the man who lead the league in hits in seven out of the 16 fullish seasons he played.
I just thank god he didnt go to the Clippers and incur the curse.