"Mr. Padre" Baseball Great Tony Gwynn Dies

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Baseball great and "Mr. Padre" Tony Gwynn has died, according to Major League Baseball and NBC Sports.

    The word came via Twitter with this post: "We mourn the passing of Hall of Famer and @Padres icon Tony Gwynn, who died today at the age of 54."

    The Hall of Fame outfielder had battled cancer, undergoing a second surgery in February 2012 that removed a tumor inside his right cheek.

    Surgeons grafted a nerve from his shoulder to replaces the nerve damaged by the tumor.

    The former San Diego Padres, now San Diego State University's baseball coach spoke with NBC 7 after that surgery about the prognosis.

    He had undergone a previous surgery in 2010  but it was the most recent surgery that noticeably changed his appearance and speech.

    Gwynn's son, Tony Gwynn Jr., was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies earlier this year and has had success in center field and in the lineup. 

    Gwynn Jr. has learned to show his respect and love for his Hall of Fame father off the field and not just on.

    On Father's Day before yesterday's game, Gwynn Jr. called his father on the west coast to wish him a Happy Father's Day. 

    “I always try to get in an I love you,” Gwynn Jr. told Comcast SportsNet's Jim Salisbury. “For a while that was uncomfortable for me, I don’t know why. But since 2010, it hasn’t been uncomfortable. It’s something I want to make sure I get in because you never know what’s going to happen.”

    Gwynn led the National League in batting eight times in his 20-year career, all with the Padres. He led the team to their only two World Series appearances in 1984 and 1998.

    He was named to 15 All-Star teams, winning seven Silver Slugger Awards as the best hitter at his position and five Gold Glove Awards as the best fielder at his position.

    He was elected to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. His No. 19 was retired by the Padres in in 2004.

    Gwynn played 2,440 games and compiled a .338 career batting average, good for 18th best in baseball history.