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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 23, 2014 / 25 Sivan, 5774

Why Non-Baseball Fans Should Love Tony Gwynn

By Bruce Bialosky




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | The world lost not only one of the greatest baseball players of all-time this week, but one of the finest representatives for baseball, sports and humans of all kinds. The death of this wonderful man at the early age of 54-years-old was a loss for all of us.

My first awareness of Tony Gwynn came early as he followed me by just one year after I graduated from San Diego State University. Fascinatingly, he came to the Aztecs as a highly-heralded basketball point guard and did not even play baseball at SDSU his first year. He became such a stand out in both sports that he was drafted in 1981 by both the San Diego Padres and the San Diego (now Los Angeles) Clippers. He decided he was too small to make it in professional basketball, thus gracing the baseball world with an athlete who became one of the greatest hitters in history and a wonderful all-around player.

Even though he never played for one of my favorite teams, he soon became one of my favorite players. A true baseball fan recognizes individual greatness even if the player is on a team you despise (think Derek Jeter of the Yankees). Gwynn, who came to the majors in 1982 after a short stint in the minors, showed a little flash of his hitting ability by batting .289 in 56 games that year. That was the last time he dipped below a .300 average; his next 19 seasons were over that mark, establishing a streak only exceeded by one player in 150 years of baseball – Ty Cobb.

Gwynn made the art of hitting look simple. But even for him it was not. He applied to hitting a baseball Thomas Edison’s famous statement that genius is “one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” Gwynn simply outworked everyone else. As chronicled in George Will’s Men at Work, which I believe to be the best book ever written about baseball, Gwynn mastered the art of hitting by studying and practicing. In Will’s 70 pages on Gwynn, one learned how he was one of the first to use video tape to dissect every aspect of his swing and his at bats. The book was published four years before Gwynn toyed with hitting .400, a milestone last achieved in 1941 by arguably the greatest hitter of the modern era – Ted Williams. Gwynn was a lesson to us all that greatness comes from hard work.

But in an era when many people are antagonized by sports figures, Gwynn was the epitome of a shining example of sports stars and human beings alike. He played his entire 20-year career for the San Diego Padres. He was encouraged to test the free agent market (everyone would want the best hitter of last fifty years), but Tony said no. His home was in San Diego and his family loved it there. The players’ union encouraged him to become a free agent because his skills would raise the financial bar for everyone else, but Gwynn got into a now-famous argument with the union by telling them the extra money was not worth it to him.

Gwynn’s closest relationship in baseball may have been with Ted Williams. There was no one else who could talk hitting with him; they were the only two living players named in the Top 20 Lifetime Batting Average list playing after 1935 (Lou Gehrig is the other). But Tony was different than Williams as Ted never was friendly to fans or the press. Gwynn could have been in the “Nice Guys” Hall of Fame. You would have to search far and wide to find someone who did not love Tony. He was always helpful, always had a big smile, and an infectious laugh.

So because of my great admiration for this baseball player, my wife gave me an extremely memorable birthday present. Among the innumerable dislocations caused by 9/11 was a week delay in the baseball season. Tony Gwynn’s last game was being played on my 48th birthday – October 7, 2001, in San Diego. She snared three tickets. We dragged along #1 son and drove to San Diego in order to pay homage to the master of hitting. It was a day no sports fan would ever forget as Gwynn -- ever the magician -- arranged for his teammate, Rickey Henderson, to get his 3,000 hit that day.

Even that wasn’t enough. #1 son and I headed to Cooperstown in 2007 for Tony’s Hall of Fame induction. He went in that year with the other great native son who likewise never left his hometown – Baltimore’s Cal Ripken. Remarkably these two inductees did not receive 100 percent of the votes, which just goes to show you baseball writers can be stupid. The two nicest as well as greatest players of their era – maybe ever -- (Will’s book covered Ripken’s art of fielding) drew a record 75,000 people to the little hamlet where the Hall of Fame is housed.

My last connection with Mr. Gwynn was when the School of Business at SDSU invited me to speak to some of their students. I said fine as long as I can meet Tony. Tony had forsaken further riches to become the head coach of the SDSU baseball team. He was doing what he loved – teaching the next generation of baseball players how to do it the right way. Unfortunately, he and his young superstar (Steven Strasburg) were not in town. After having lunch with the Dean, I had one additional small meeting before walking back to my car. Across the quad I could see Dean McNaughton running after me -- as best as she could in her heels --while waving something. As we approached each other it came into focus. She said “I want you to have this.” It was a bat personally signed by Tony Gwynn. It now sits right next to my desk.

When the news came Monday morning that he had left us so young, I was overcome with emotion. In our culture today we put sports figures onto pedestals. They don’t often deserve such. But Tony performed at a nearly unmatched level while staying loyal to his town, his team and his family, and doing it with a gracious, warm smile and a helping hand to all. We did not lose a great baseball player; we lost a great human being. God be with you #19. As someone said, he is now batting 1.000 in heaven.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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Bruce Bialosky is the founder of the Republican Jewish Coalition of California and a former Presidential appointee.


Previously:


06/16/14 Why Americans Hate Big Business
06/09/14 Obama's Master Plan
06/02/14 Los Angeles' Solution To Failing Government
05/26/14 Curing The VA Problems
05/19/14 There are worst tax agencies than the IRS
05/12/14 From Target to Benghazi
05/05/14 An American Solution to Income Inequality
04/28/14 Medicaid, the Next Obama Disaster
04/21/14 President Hope abandons it
04/14/14 The Great Divide in America
04/07/14 Banks Play Ball with Government to Hand Over Your Assets
03/24/14 To Frack or Not to Frack, That is the Question
03/17/14 Doing Right While Being So Wrong
03/10/14 Los Angeles: The Next Failed Government?
03/03/14 Dems, How Much Will You Take?
02/24/14 NCAA Juicing Basketball
02/17/14 Thank You President Obama for Freeing Me
02/10/14 What Jack Kennedy Wrought
02/03/14 Women Need To Have Equality
01/27/14 Our Smartest President?
01/20/14 And When I Die
01/13/14 Congressional Extortion
01/06/14 Why Obamacare Cannot Succeed
12/30/13 Why Judge Was Incorrect in NSA Case
12/09/13 The Real Reaction to Obamacare
12/09/13 How to Secure a Proper Iranian Agreement
12/03/13 Frontline/ProPublica's Misguided Attack on The Assisted Living Industry, Part 2
12/02/13 Frontline/ProPublica's Misguided Attack on The Assisted Living Industry, Part 1
11/25/13 Obamacare --- Big Business Gets Screwed Again
11/18/13 Shocking News: Dems Want New 'Revenues'
11/11/13 Do You Want A Nationalized Drug Industry?
11/04/13 Obamacare Schadenfreude
10/28/13 The Second Biggest Issue in America
10/21/13 The New Welfare State





© 2013, Bruce Bialosky

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