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Gwynn passes 3,000

Published Sep. 29, 2005

San Diego's Tony Gwynn, 4-for-5 in a 12-10 win over the Expos, becomes the 21st player to reach the milestone.

Tony Gwynn didn't stop after reaching his milestone. Just like Mark McGwire the night before, making history wasn't simply enough.

Gwynn went 4-for-5, singling in his first at-bat to become the 21st major-leaguer to reach 3,000 hits, as the San Diego Padres beat the Expos 12-10 Friday night.

"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 made it his day in the first inning. He reached down and golfed a soft line drive past second base on a 1-2 pitch from Dan Smith, a rookie making his 11th 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."

Gwynn's 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.

"I'm going to enjoy this night," Gwynn said, "but (today) I'll be ready to get back to work I'll be ready to go at 7:05."

Gwynn reached the milestone in front of 13,540 fans _ more than 30,000 fewer than watched him get his 2,999th hit Thursday 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 were let me know they were pulling for me," Gwynn said. "The last time up, it finally switched. One guy said, "Okay, you got three, that's enough.' "

Fireworks, usually reserved for Expos home runs, were set off as soon as the hit dropped in.

Gwynn didn't wait long to add on. In his second at-bat, he singled up the middle to move past Roberto Clemente into 20th 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 National League 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.

American Leaguers Paul Molitor, Eddie Murray, George Brett, Robin Yount, Dave Winfield, Carl Yastrzemski and Rod Carew reached 3,000 in the years since Brock did it.

"If you want to do it in the National League, you have to play a position," Gwynn said. "It's been 20 years since anybody has been able to do it. That tells you how tough it is do it in this league."

Said Padres manager Bruce Bochy: "We've been waiting for this moment and it's a moment that we'll cherish along with Tony. 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."

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.

"When you talk about 3,000 hits, you talk about passion and a love for the game," Gwynn said. "I love playing the game."

Gwynn is the eighth player to reach 3,000 hits and spend his 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. "My hat's off to him."

This is one of the greatest milestone periods in baseball history, a 500th homer and the possibility of two 3,000th hits.

The last time those two marks 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.

The game resumed after a brief delay following Gwynn's 3,000th 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 RBI and a two-run homer off reliever J.D. Smart. Quilvio Veras went 3-for-5 and tied a team record with four runs.

Sterling Hitchcock (11-8) allowed Vladimir Guerrero's 23rd homer and Chris Widger's second homer in as many games.

Trevor Hoffman got the final out for his 28th save.

Above average

Here are the career averages of the major-league players with 3,000 or more hits (Wade Boggs, three hits away, is at .328):

1. Ty Cobb .366

2. Tris Speaker .344

3. Nap Lajoie .338

4. Tony Gwynn-x .338

5. Eddie Collins .333

6. Paul Waner .333

7. Stan Musial .331

8. Rod Carew .328

9. Honus Wagner .327

10. Roberto Clemente .317

11. Paul Molitor .308

12. George Brett .307

13. Hank Aaron .305

14. Pete Rose .303

15. Willie Mays .302

16. Al Kaline .297

17. Lou Brock .293

18. Eddie Murray .287

19. Robin Yount .286

20. Carl Yastrzemski .285

21. Dave Winfield .283