“It’s a sad day for the game of baseball,” Matheny told reporters. “I was a big fan of Tony and how he went about playing the game, just a great ambassador for the game of baseball. I got to spend a little time with him and realized how a pro goes about playing this game.”
The manager told the media about a time in which he met with pitchers on how to pitch Gwynn.
“We even tried to tell him what was coming,” Matheny said as he remembered the great. “That guy was going to get his hits, that’s all there was to it. Because your best stuff was not good enough to get him out. He was at a different level.”
While I will always remember the moment between Gwynn and Ted Williams during the pregame ceremony during the 1999 All-Star Game at Fenway Park, Gwynn had also befriended Stan Musial. In fact, an article with the two legends talking about hitting appeared in a July 28, 1997 issue of Sporting News.
Gwynn retired in 2001 with 3,141 career hits (19th all-time) and a career .338 batting average. As a side note, before joining the 3,000 hit club on the road against the Montreal Expos, Gwynn hit his 2,999th career hit at Busch Stadium.