In his 20-year Major League career with the San Diego Padres, Gwynn collected 3,141 hits. Yes, he was a player who studied his swing and tried to master the technique of hitting, but he did it with grace. He embraced his fans and built a relationship with them. To find a player who is the total package -- a tremendous human being and phenomenal athlete -- is rare these days. But he was just that and continues to be.
In his career, Gwynn made a steadfast decision to remain in San Diego. Through the years, he has provided baseball fans with nothing short of extraordinary performances on and off the field. He was as much comfortable out in right field as he was at the plate. Gwynn debuted with the Padres in 1982, the same time he began his legendary hitting record.
Gwynn was a member of the Padres' first three division championship teams (1984, 1996, and 1998), and he was selected an All-Star 15 times. His numerous achievements included eight National League batting titles and five Gold Glove Awards.
"Mr. Padre," whose No. 19 is retired by the Padres, gave baseball fans a lot more than 19 good reasons why he deserves to go into the Hall of Fame. He provided a number of milestones throughout his career that will live on in many people's minds, especially those moments when he was inside the batter's box. Here are but a few Gwynn moments in his prolific career:
July 19, 1982 -- The kid who played for the San Diego State Aztecs was now making his debut with the Padres. In his first big league game against the Phillies, he hit a double and a single.
Aug. 21-Sept. 18, 1983 -- Gwynn established a then-franchise record when he hit in 25 consecutive games. It is currently the third-longest streak among all Padres players.
Sept. 30, 1984 -- Gwynn notched his first National League batting title with a .351 average, winning the title by 30 points.
Oct. 9, 1984 -- The Padres made their first trip to the World Series, and Gwynn went 7-for-19 with three doubles and three RBIs in the NLCS to help get them there.
April 22, 1988 -- The Padres were playing against the Houston Astros when Gwynn notched his 1,000th career hit in the first inning with a single off soon-to-be fellow Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan.
Sept. 17, 1988 -- Gwynn surpassed Dave Winfield's franchise hits record with hit No. 1,135.
Oct. 1, 1989 -- In a series in which the Giants clinched the NL West title over the Padres, Gwynn edged out Will Clark for his third straight batting title, and fourth overall, with a 3-for-4 performance that left him at .336 to Clark's .333.
Aug. 6, 1993 -- Gwynn collected his 2,000th career hit off Rockies pitcher Bruce Ruffin -- a single in the sixth inning.
July 12, 1994 -- Playing all 10 innings, Gwynn scored the winning run for the National League in the All-Star Game, sliding home and popping up to be mobbed by his teammates in an 8-7 NL victory.
Aug. 12, 1994 -- Batting .394 when a labor stoppage halted the season, Gwynn made a serious run at becoming the first player since Ted Williams in 1941 to hit .400.
Sept. 28, 1996 -- Gwynn's two-run single off the Dodgers cemented the Padres' spot in the postseason.
Sept. 29, 1996 -- Gwynn's brother, Chris, provided Gwynn with his "biggest thrill." Chris Gwynn was pinch-hitting for the Padres in the 11th inning of the series finale against the Dodgers when he hit a two-run double. It locked up the NL West title for San Diego.
June 7, 1997 -- Gwynn can not only hit anywhere inside the park, but also out of it. He recorded his 100th career home run, in a game against the Astros, en route to a career-high 17 homers that year.
Sept. 24, 1997 -- Gwynn collected a franchise-record 220 hits for a single season, claiming the last of his National League-record eight batting titles.
Oct. 17, 1998 -- Playing in his second World Series, Gwynn deposits a David Wells pitch into the upper deck in right field to give the Padres the lead in Game 1.
Aug. 6, 1999 -- Gwynn singled off Expos pitcher Dan Smith in the first inning at Olympic Stadium, joining the illustrious 3,000-hit club.
Oct. 6, 2001 -- Gwynn gets his final career hit, No. 3,141. He ranks 18th among all players, past and present, with his mark.
Oct. 7, 2001 -- Gwynn puts on his No. 19 uniform one last time against the Rockies to end his 20-year Major League career.
Sept. 4, 2004 -- Gwynn's No. 19 is retired at PETCO Park.
Elizabeth Botello is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less