In the history of Major League Baseball, perhaps no batter was better at putting the bat on the ball then the late-great Tony Gwynn. With how modern game littered with strikeouts, these Tony Gwynn strikeoutsstats show just how incredible he was as a hitter. These stats, amongst countless others show how different of a hitter was, especially compared to the 2023 MLB Season.
Tony Gwynn Strikeouts: Career Strikeouts
The Hall of Fame career of Tony Gwynn stretched over 20 MLB seasons, starting in 1982 and wrapping up following the 2001 season. Over that time, Gwynn struck out an absurdly low 434 times, or about 29 times per 162 games played. So far in 2023, 19 players have already struck out at least 20 times, including last year’s AL MVP Aaron Judge. Atlanta Braves’ first baseman Matt Olson leads the league with 27.
On the other end, Reggie Jackson leads all Hall of Fame hitters with 2,597 strikeouts over his playing career. At the career Tony Gwynn strikeouts rate, Gwynn would have to play approximately 12,221 more games to tie Mr. October for career strikeouts.
Tony Gwynn Strikeouts: 1992 Season
In 1992, Tony Gwynn finished the season having played in 128 games while compiling 520 at-bats. That year, there were only 16 Tony Gwynn strikeouts. As of April 18, 2023, 68 big leaguers have already struck out 16 times this year. Toronto Blue Jay Brandon Belt has 18 strikeouts in only 10 games played this year!
Last year, 16 Tony Gwynn strikeouts would have tied him for 523rd in Major League Baseball for most strikeouts on the year. Of all the players with either 16 strikeouts or fewer, only David Fletcher had appeared in over 40 games (61) and had more than 150 at-bats (216). Despite playing in fewer than half of the at-bats, Fletcher and Gwynn would have finished the year tied.
Tony Gwynn Strikeouts: With Two Strikes
One of the things that made Gwynn so dangerous was how difficult it was to get one more strike by him when a pitcher did manage to throw two strikes.
Unsurprisingly, Gwynn has the highest average in baseball since batting average with two strikes were recorded. As of 2021, the closest player to Gwynn was Wade Boggs, who hit .260 in such occasions.
In 1988, MLB started tracking how often players struck out swinging versus looking. From 1988 to the end of his career, there were 271 total Tony Gwynn strikeouts. Of that, only 75 were that of Gwynn looking.
Tony Gwynn Strikeouts: Top Pitchers
Having a career that started in the 1980s and stretched into the beginning of 2001, Gwynn had the opportunity to hit off of more than a hand full of Hall of Fame pitchers. The pitcher who struck him out the most was Nolan Ryan, who managed to accumulate 9 Tony Gwynn strikeouts in 67 matchups, or about 13.4% of matchups. Against all others, Ryan struck out hitters at a roughly 25% rate.
Over the course of his Hall of Fame career, Greg Maddux accumulated 3,371 strikeouts, good for 10th all-time in MLB history. During his playing days, he and Gwynn and Maddux faced off 103 times. In those plate appearances, Gwynn hit .429 and never struck out against 4-time Cy Young Award winner.
Gwynn also never struck out in 36 plate appearances against Pedro Martinez and only once against Steve Carlton. Randy Johnson had some of the most success against Gwynn, striking him out 4 times in 12 plate appearances.
Let us know your favorite Tony Gwynn strikeouts statistic in the comments below and be sure to check out our Grand Slam tracker, where we track all of the Grand Slams hit in 2023.
Main image credit Embed from Getty Images