ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball crew must have been overjoyed that the Astros took an 8-0 lead on the Yankees after two innings Sunday night, because then it had even more reason to empty the Derek Jeter vault.
Ah, who are we kidding? Even if the game were 1-1 after seven, we still would have been clubbed over the head with all things No. 2 on the night the Yankees retired his number. We still would have gotten an in-the-booth interview with the Captain. We still would have gotten a collection of greatest hits/plays/vanilla quotes. We still would have gotten the climax to the breathless dawn-to-dark coverage.
We still would have gotten the hagiography that was put together about three years too early.
Gwynn led the league in at-bats per strikeout 10 times, including 1995, when he struck out once every 35.7 at-bats.
He would’ve had a string of 16 consecutive All-Star seasons, if not for the 1988 campaign when he was limited to 133 games. But he still won the batting title that year, hitting .313.
Perhaps the most impressive of Gwynn’s statistics were his numbers against one of the all-time greats. He faced Hall of Famer Greg Maddux arguably the greatest pitcher of the era 107 times. Maddux made even the best hitters look foolish. Gwynn hit .415 against him and never struck out.