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Padres' Gwynn is on pace for 241 hits

It's that time in the season when the Top 10 starts to mean something. Tony Gwynn, for example, leads the National League with a .373 batting average through Sunday and has 85 hits in San Diego's first 57 games _ a pace that gives him a shot at the major-league record for hits in a season.

Gwynn is no pretender, either. His career average of .329 ranks 12th in NL history, .0002 ahead of Honus Wagner and two points behind Stan Musial. Gwynn already has four batting titles in eight seasons.

Now the interesting part. Gwynn is on a pace for 241 hits this season. It's not a clip that would break George Sisler's record of 257 hits set in 1920, but it's in the ballpark.

In the last 50 years, only five major-leaguers, including Wade Boggs with 240 in 1985, have had more than 230 hits in a season.

Gwynn entered Monday night's game at Pittsburgh with a 15-game hitting streak, going 25-for-57 (.439) in that span. He also leads the league with eight triples and is among the leaders with 14 doubles.

Since 1901, the highest average belongs to Rogers Hornsby with a .424 mark in 1924 when he had 227 hits.

The six players who had 250 or more hits in a season are all former batting champions. In addition to Sisler, they are Lefty O'Doul of the Philadelphia Phillies, who set the NL record of 254 hits in 1929; Bill Terry of the New York Giants, who tied O'Doul's record in 1930; Al Simmons of the Philadelphia A's, with 253 in 1925; Hornsby of the St. Louis Cardinals, with 250 in 1922, and Chuck Klein of the Phillies with 250 in 1930.

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