“Mr. Padre” documentary knocks it out of the park

3,141 hits.

A lifetime batting average of .338.

A 15-time all star and five-time gold glove award winner.

A seven-time Silver Slugger Award winner.

A Hall of Fame career.

MLB Network Presents: Mr. Padre debuted to the public on Tuesday night and was an instant hit among Padres fans. The documentary highlights Tony Gwynn’s entire life, beginning from his youth with brothers Chris and Charles, to his time as a dual-sport star at SDSU, to his illustrious big league career, to his battle with cancer, and everything in between. There are interviews with plenty of Gwynn’s family members and colleagues scattered throughout the special, as well as video from Gwynn’s life that even Tony Gwynn Jr. had never seen before. In an interview with MLB.com, Gwynn Jr. had this to say regarding the documentary:

“There was some video on there that I had never seen, some of it even with me being in it., I was locked into a lot of it. Ultimately, I thought that was the best documentary to date that kind of pulled the curtain back in terms of how he interacted with people — not just with his teammates, but with people in general.”

Throughout the special, Tony’s love for the city of San Diego (and San Diego’s love for him) is well-documented. Especially in today’s era, it is rare for players to remain with one team throughout the entirety of their careers. Gwynn’s love for San Diego as well as his determination to win a title with the Padres led him to do just that. He was rare in another regard, too: he was a humble superstar that just about anyone could relate to.

Gwynn worked incredibly hard at his craft, not just in the cage but in the video room as well. Gwynn’s near obsession of watching video of his own at bats is highlighted, and he was one of the first players to do so. Former Padres GM Jack McKeon called him a “trailblazer” in that regard. It was that obsession which aided Gwynn’s .394 batting average in the strike-shortened 1994 season, where he was three hits shy of reaching the magical (and unheard of) .400 batting average.

The special concludes with Gwynn’s post-career coaching at San Diego State University as well as his battle with salivary gland cancer.

Rather than ending with the news of his death, however, the documentary ends with something unforgettable about Mr. Padre: his infectious laugh.

If you missed it, the documentary will air again at 1 p.m. on Saturday, 7 p.m. on February 6, and 11 a.m./11 p.m. on February 11.

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