Greg Maddux, one of the finest pitchers of his generation, told the Washington Post earlier this year that he was convinced no hitter could accurately differentiate between the speed of specific pitches, comparing it to attempting to gauge the speed of a car a quarter-mile away.
"You just can't do it," Maddux told The Post. "Except ... for that [expletive] Tony Gwynn."
En route to 3,141 career hits and a plaque in the Hall of Fame, Gwynn -- who passed away early Monday morning after a lengthy battle with salivary gland cancer -- faced many of the greatest pitchers in the game. And for the most part, the great Padres star more than held his own.
Here are Gwynn's numbers against some of baseball's finest arms:
Doug Drabek: Gwynn posted a whopping .469 average in 49 career at-bats against Drabek, the National League Cy Young Award winner in 1990.
Tom Glavine: No pitcher faced Gwynn more than Glavine (93 at-bats). Gwynn got the best of many of those confrontations, batting .312 against the five-time 20-game winner.
Orel Hershiser: Hershiser holds the Major League record for consecutive scoreless innings with 59, but didn't have much luck keeping Gwynn in check, yielding a .321 career batting average.
Greg Maddux: Gwynn had his way with the four-time Cy Young Award winner, batting .429 against him. Gwynn's 39 hits against Maddux were the most against any pitcher he faced, and he never once struck out.
Mike Scott: Scott's split-fingered fastball was as dominant as any pitch in baseball during the late 1980s. However, Gwynn managed to compile a .318 career batting average against the 1986 NL Cy Young award winner.
John Smoltz: Among pitchers against whom he had at least 65 at bats, Gwynn posted his highest batting average (.462) against Smoltz, an eight-time All-Star and the 1996 NL Cy Young Award winner.
Nolan Ryan: Gwynn never struck out against the same player more than six times in his career, except for Ryan. Baseball's all-time strikeout leader punched out Gwynn nine times in 63 career at-bats, but Gwynn still managed to hit .302 for his career against the Ryan Express.
Fernando Valenzuela: Gwynn hit .321 against Valenzuela, the only player in Major League history to win the Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards in the same season.