Assigned to a farm team in Walla Walla, Wash., in 1981, he stung his hands on a pitch off the end of the bat on his very first practice swing. “It hurt so bad I just dropped my bat like a little kid,” Gwynn said. “I remember shaking my hand and saying, ‘Man, I’m in trouble.’”
Tony Gwynn wasn’t in too much trouble: he finished his career with 3141 hits 20 years later. Alas, Gwynn has died of cancer at age 54. Tyler Kepner has a fine dugout remembrance.