Greg Maddux once had an awesome Tony Gwynn quote
The baseball world was mourning the passing of one of its most beloved players on Monday, as San Diego Padres legend Tony Gwynn lost his battle with cancer at the age of 54. Gwynn, a Hall of Famer and 15-time All Star, is one of the greatest pure hitters to ever play the game. Greg Maddux got to see that firsthand.
In fact, Maddux saw Gwynn more than anyone. The former Atlanta Braves hurler faced Gwynn 107 times during their overlapping Hall-of-Fame careers. Maddux didn’t strike Gwynn out a single time — NOT ONCE.
And Maddux knew it. On Monday, ESPN’s Ethan Strauss reminded us about a fantastic quote that Maddux once had about Gwynn that summed up his sensational career. The righthander was discussing how changing speeds and having control are far more important than velocity, because no hitter can tell the exact speed of a pitch. Well, except one…
“You just can’t do it,” Maddux said. “Sometimes hitters can pick up differences in spin. They can identify pitches if there are different release points or if a curveball starts with an upward hump as it leaves the pitcher’s hand. But if a pitcher can change speeds, every hitter is helpless, limited by human vision.
“Except for that (expletive) Tony Gwynn.”
If that’s not respect, I don’t know what is.
Gwynn struck out 434 times in 10,232 plate appearances. Yeah, you read that right. He struck out 15 times during the entire 1995 season — a year in which he batted .368. That season came in the middle of a five-year stretch where he batted .369.
We could spend all day listing Gwynn’s mind-boggling career achievements. He was that good. Maddux summed it up perfectly.
H/T SI Hot Clicks