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Archive for Thursday, June 28, 2001

Gwynn expected to reveal he’ll retire at end of season

June 28, 2001

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— Tony Gwynn, arguably the best pure hitter of his generation, is expected to announce today that he will retire at the end of this season, his 20th with the San Diego Padres.

A baseball source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Wednesday evening that he understood that an announcement was to be made after the team returned from a six-day trip that ended Wednesday night in Colorado.

Earlier Wednesday, USA Today's Baseball Weekly reported on USAToday.com that Gwynn will retire at season's end.

"Nobody wants to believe it now," Gwynn told Baseball Weekly from his hotel room in Denver, "but I knew this would be my last year before the year started. It was predetermined. No matter what I did this year, I knew it would be my last.

"I'll have a press conference to get it off my chest, and then I'll be at peace."

Gwynn's agent, John Boggs, said he wasn't aware of a news conference.

"I'll probably be talking to Tony later this evening, and I'll find out exactly what his wishes are."

Gwynn, 41, has struggled to get back into the Padres' outfield because of a strained right hamstring that's sidelined him for most of the season. with a strained right hamstring and has had repeated setbacks since he was sidelined on May 10.

Gwynn, an eight-time NL batting champion who is 16th on the all-time list with 3,124 hits, has strongly hinted for a month that this would be his final season.

On May 29, he told reporters he would like to be the baseball coach at his alma mater, San Diego State, when the job opens in June 2002. Although he wouldn't say it publicly at the time, that would rule out him playing next season.

Gwynn ran in the outfield prior to Wednesday night's game.

"Tony is getting closer," manager Bruce Bochy said. "When he does come back he will pinch hit, but not play in the field."

When Cal Ripken announced on June 19 that he'll retire at the end of the season, Gwynn said he wasn't surprised.

"I'm sure he thought about it. I've thought about it for two or three years," Gwynn said at the time. "I figured it was going to happen for Ripken. First, Wally (Joyner) a few days ago. There are going to be a few more by the end of the year. But this is not the time to talk about it. There will come a time, but it's not right now."

Gwynn turned 41 on May 9, the day he hurt his hamstring for the second time. He was placed on the DL the next day.

Gwynn has played in just his 16 games this season, getting 16 hits in 48 at-bats for a .333 average. He hurt his hamstring for the first time on April 20 in Los Angeles, trying to stretch a hit into a double.

Gwynn has been plagued by leg injuries the last several years. He underwent a sixth surgery on his left knee last season and was limited to a career-low 36 games.

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