Matheny: Gwynn was a great ambassador for baseball -

Matheny: Gwynn was a great ambassador for baseball

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By Scott Bierman By Scott Bierman

(BaseballStL) -- St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny remembers how hard it was to get the former San Diego Padre Tony Gwynn out, after it was announced Monday that the Hall of Famer had lost his battle with cancer at the age of 54.

"It's a sad day for the game of baseball," Matheny said, "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."

Gwynn spent his entire 20 year career with the San Diego Padres, nicknamed 'Mr. Padre," and collected 3,141 hits with a career .338 batting average. 

Matheny said he remembered being in a meeting with the pitchers who only wanted to throw Gwynn a ball right over the middle, so the lefty wouldn't shoot the ball just into left field.

"We even tried to tell him what was coming," Matheny laughed, "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."

Gwynn had less then 20 total strike-outs in seven of his 20 seasons. To put that into perspective, Allen Craig has already struck out 51 times this season.

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