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His time to shine
Gwynn gets career hit No. 3,000 against Expos
Posted: Sunday August 08, 1999 11:41 PM
"I'd have loved to do it last night in St. Louis but now that things have happened the way they've happened, this is great for me," Gwynn said. "Mark had his day, today is my day."
Gwynn reached down and golfed a soft line drive past second base on a 1-2 pitch from Dan Smith, a rookie right-hander making his 11th career start.
"If somebody's going to get a hit off me like that, he's the best guy to do it," Smith said. "I grew up rooting for him and I tip my hat to him."
His Padres teammates raced from the dugout to congratulate him, and first base umpire Kerwin Danley -- Gwynn's college teammate at San Diego State -- gave him a hug.
The ball and the first base bag were taken out of play, with one or both likely to end up in the Hall of Fame.
"The relief that you feel is the first thing that hits you," Gwynn said. "Then I was starting to get emotional."
Gwynn reached the milestone in front of 13,540 fans - more than 30,000 fewer than watched him get his 2,999th hit Thursday night in St. Louis when McGwire hit his 500th and 501st homer.
The crowd at Olympic Stadium, which was on its feet and clapping throughout the at-bat, gave Gwynn a lengthy ovation.
"Every time I came up to the plate, they let me know they were pulling for me," Gwynn said. "The last time up, it finally switched. One guy said, 'OK, you got three, that's enough.'"
Fireworks, usually reserved for Expos' home runs, were set off as soon as the hit dropped in, and Gwynn's mother, Vendella, celebrating her 64th birthday, came onto to the field and embraced her son.
"To get 3,000 on my mom's birthday is a really special thing for me," said Gwynn, who got No. 2000 on his mother's 58th birthday. "I was hugging her and telling her, 'Happy Birthday, Mom. This is for you.'"
Gwynn didn't wait long to add on. In his second at-bat, he singled up the middle to move past Roberto Clemente into 21st place on the career list.
After grounding out in the fourth inning, Gwynn singled to right in the sixth and singled to right in the eighth before leaving for a pinch-runner. The crowd gave him another standing ovation after his 3,003rd hit.
"It was because my family was telling me don't just be satisfied with getting one," Gwynn said. "After I got the hit in the first inning, I was a whole lot more relaxed than I had been."
Gwynn became the first NL player since the Cardinals' Lou Brock in 1979 to reach 3,000 hits. Brock was at Thursday's game in St. Louis, as was Stan Musial, hoping to see Gwynn reach 3,000.
"We've been waiting for this moment and it's a moment that we'll cherish along with Tony," Bochy said. "We're so proud of him. I consider it a privilege to have played with him, managed him and to see him reach his milestone."
Several AL players -- Paul Molitor, Eddie Murray, George Brett, Robin Yount, Dave Winfield, Carl Yastrzemski and Rod Carew -- reached 3,000 hits in the years since Brock did it.
Gwynn reached 3,000 in 2,284 games, third-fastest behind only Ty Cobb and Nap Lajoie. Cobb was the fastest, doing it in 2,135 games.
Gwynn is the eighth player to reach 3,000 hits who spent his entire major league career with one team.
"Joining the 3,000-hit club as a member of one team and one team only, that has a nice ring to it as far as I'm concerned," Gwynn said.
Gwynn beat Tampa Bay's Wade Boggs to the milestone by at least one day. Boggs went 0-for-3 with a walk against Cleveland, leaving him three hits shy of 3,000.
"It's a very special time for not only him and his family, but for major league baseball to go ahead and get that taken care of," Boggs said from St. Petersburg, Fla. "My hat's off to him. Nice going. Work on 4,000 now."
This is one of the greatest milestone weeks in baseball history, a 500th homer and the possibility of two 3,000th hits.
The last time those two plateaus were reached so close together was in 1970 when Ernie Banks hit his 500th homer and Hank Aaron had his 3,000th hit within five days of each other.
The game resumed after a brief delay following Gwynn's milestone hit and the Padres chased Smith with a four-run first, keyed by Phil Nevin's two-run double.
Nevin went 2-for-5 with four RBIs. He hit a two-run homer off reliever J.D. Smart in the fourth.
Quilvio Veras went 3-for-5 with a double and a walk. He scored four runs to tie a team record.
Veras walked to lead off the eighth and Gwynn followed with a single to right before leaving the game for pinch runner Ruben Rivera. Sanders then hit an RBI single, advancing Rivera to third.
Sanders stole second and Rivera stole home as the throw went through to second.
Trevor Hoffman got the final out for his 28th save.
Notes: The four hits left Gwynn
four shy of the Al Kaline's 3,007 career hits. ... It was Gwynn's 866th
career multi-hit game. ... Gwynn has 200 career hits against the Expos,
with 114 coming at Olympic Stadium. He also stroked career hits Nos. 400,
1,200, 1,900, and 2,900 in Montreal. ... Gwynn has hit safely in 1,740 of
2,284 career games. ... Gwynn became the ninth player to reach 3,000 on the
road and the first to do so outside of the United States. ... Guerrero
committed two throwing errors in the sixth to bring his total up to 15 for
the season. ... The two teams combined for eighth errors in the game, five
by the Expos. ... Home plate umpire Bob Davidson was the second base umpire
in Gwynn's major league debut against Philadelphia on July 19, 1982.
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