Tony Gwynn dies at 54

Gwynn’s .338 career batting average is the highest mark for a hitter since Ted Williams’ career started in 1939. USA TODAY Sports

Hall of Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn died of cancer Monday at the age of 54. Gwynn, who spent his entire career with the San Diego Padres from 1982-2001, had been battling salivary-gland cancer for the last four years.

A 15-time All-Star, Gwynn is regarded as one of the greatest pure hitters of all time, a reputation earned by batting over .300 in 19 consecutive seasons from 1983-2001, including .394 in 1994. Gwynn’s .338 career batting average is tied for the 18th highest in major league history, and his 3,141 hits are 19th on the all-time list.

One of his generation’s brightest stars and an ambassador for the game, Gwynn — nicknamed “Mr. Padre” — played through the height of the steroid era without ever being tainted by suspicions of performance-enhancing drug use despite winning eight batting titles.

After retiring in 2001 due to knee and hamstring injuries, Gwynn coached the San Diego State University baseball team and worked part-time as an analyst for ESPN, TBS and Yahoo Sports.