Oh man, I had no idea his health had deteriorated so badly in recent years. Brutal loss, he was only 54 years old.
Gwynn always seemed like the friendliest guy around and of course he was an exceptional hitter. He's the definition of the 'professional hitter' term the announcers throw around too often nowadays. RIP Mr. Padre, you'll be sorely missed.
"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone." --- Bart Giamatti, on baseball
I don't have a lot to say about Gwynn. This is hard for me - I'm conflicted. On the one hand, I have to admit I used to heckle him. On the other hand, I heckled him because he let himself go and because he could have been so much better. I always knew he was an amazing talent and it hurts to see him go.
Pirates really didn't have to scramble to find a power hitting replacement. Daryle Ward signed with the team before Mondesi did, and was down in Triple A. As soon as Ward came up (May 18), the Pirates became a different team.