July 30, 2021

The Baseball 100: No. 95, Tony Gwynn (The Athletic)

Starting in December and ending on Opening Day, we at The Athletic will count down the 100 greatest baseball players by publishing an essay on a player every day for 100 days. In all, this project will contain roughly as many words as “Moby Dick.” Yes, we know it’s nutty. We hope you enjoy. 

A Haiku on Hitting

I tried not to guess

I did not anticipate

I trusted my eyes

A little less than two years before he died, I talked hitting with Tony Gwynn. The event was called “The Art of Hitting,” and it remains one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. This was in 2012, just before the All-Star Game in Kansas City, and we talked hitting before a thrilled crowd at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. It was like talking astrophysics with Carl Sagan or poetry with Emily Dickinson or piano with Thelonious Monk. 

Matt Kemp was one of the people in the crowd because, as he said, “If Tony Gwynn is talking hitting,…

Read “The Baseball 100: No. 95, Tony Gwynn” at The Athletic