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Leaderboarding: The greatness of Tony Gwynn, professional hitter

By Matt Snyder | Baseball Writer

Few in baseball history were as adept with the bat as Tony Gwynn.
Few in baseball history were as adept with the bat as Tony Gwynn. (Getty Images)

Tony Gwynn has died at age 54 | Did '94 strike cost him a .400 season?

The Major League Baseball family lost a beloved member Monday, as Hall of Fame player -- and, more importantly, Hall of Fame person -- Tony Gwynn died.

Given what a great player and person Gwynn was, there are myriad avenues through which to honor him. One humble way is to marvel at how good he was with a bat in his hands. Let's do exactly that, with a Tony Gwynn version of Leaderboarding -- with a major assist from baseball-reference.com's play index.

Brace yourself ...

Players with more than 3,000 hits and fewer than 500 strikeouts in MLB history:

Gwynn, 3141 hits, 434 strikeouts
Tris Speaker, 3514 H, 394 K
Paul Waner, 3152 H, 376 K
Eddie Collins, 3315 H, 468 K

Players with more than 500 doubles and at least a .335 batting average

Gwynn, .338 batting average, 543 doubles
Ted Williams, .344 BA, 525 2B
Lou Gehrig, .340 BA, 534 2B
Rogers Hornsby, .358 BA, 541 2B
Babe Ruth, .342 BA, 506 2B
Harry Heilmann, .342 BA, 542 2B
Ty Cobb, .366 BA, 724 2B
Speaker, .345 BA, 792 2B
Nap Lajoie, .336 BA, 510 2B

Players with at least 3,000 hits and 300 stolen bases

Derek Jeter, 3380 hits, 351 stolen bases
Craig Biggio, 3060 H, 414 SB
Rickey Henderson, 3055 H, 1406 SB
Gwynn, 3141 H, 319 SB
Paul Molitor, 3319 H, 504 SB
Rod Carew, 3053 H, 353 SB
Lou Brock, 3023 H, 938 SB
Willie Mays, 3283 H, 338 SB
Collins, 3315 H, 741 SB
Cobb, 4189 H, 897 SB
Speaker, 3514 H, 436 SB

Top 5 at-bats per strikeout in the 3,000-hit club

1. Speaker, 25.88 AB/SO
2. Waner, 25.16
3. Gwynn, 21.40
4. Collins, 21.26
5. Cobb, 16.79

Players with at least 500 games played and a rate of more than 20 at-bats per strikeout since 1960 (entire career coming after 1960)

1. Felix Millan, 23.93 AB/SO
2. Glenn Beckert, 21.43
3. Gwynn, 21.40
4. Bill Buckner, 20.74

Qualified seasons with at least a .315 batting average and fewer than 20 strikeouts

1. Speaker, 11
2. Pie Traynor, 8
2. Joe Sewell, 8
2. George Sisler, 8
5. Sam Rice, 7
5. Lajoie, 7
7. Frankie Frisch, 6
7. Collins, 6
7. Edd Rousch, 6
10. Gwynn, 5
10. George Kell, 5
10. Waner, 5

Seasons with a .350 batting average or better

1. Cobb, 16
2. Hornsby, 10
3. Speaker, 9
4. Gehrig, 8
4. Ruth, 8
6. Gwynn, 7
6. Williams, 7
6. Al Simmons, 7
6. Shoeless Joe Jackson, 7
6. Lajoie, 7

Career batting titles

1. Cobb, 11
2. Honus Wagner, 8
2. Gwynn, 8
4. Carew, 7
4. Stan Musial, 7
4. Hornsby, 7

Full seasons that Gwynn did not hit at least .300: Zero

Seasons that Gwynn did not walk more than he struck out: One (14 walks and 16 strikeouts in 54 games as a rookie in 1982)

Games in which Gwynn struck out at least three times: One (April 14, 1986 against the recently-deceased Bob Welch)

Games in which Gwynn struck out at least twice: 34, out of 2,440 career games.

Games in which Gwynn collected at least four hits: 45

Games in which Gwynn collected at least five hits: 9

Games in which Gwynn got at least four plate appearances and didn't record a hit: 454, out of 2,440 career games.

And, finally, this might be the most impressive ...

Qualified players with more doubles than strikeouts in 2014: Zero.

Times Gwynn had more doubles than strikeouts in a season: 12.

 
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