Matt Williams reflects on passing of Tony Gwynn

By Daniel Popper

WASHINGTON — Nationals Manager Matt Williams played 10 seasons with the San Francisco Giants from 1987 until 1996, and faced Tony Gwynn of the division-rival Padres in multiple series every season.

Gwynn passed away Monday at the age of 54 after a long battle with salivary gland cancer. And Williams shared his thoughts on the death of the one of the greatest hitters to ever swing a bat.

“It was a marvel to see him take batting practice because he could do anything he wanted to do with a baseball,” Williams said. “He’d take any pitch and hit it wherever he wanted to hit it.”

Williams said the Giants, like many other teams, would try a variety of defensive schemes to try and take away Gwynn’s favorable hole in between shortstop and third base, where Williams played. However, the attempts were to no avail.

“He’d walk to the plate and see where you were, and then decide to hit it where you weren’t,” Williams said. “Pretty skilled, hand eye coordination, vision, all of those things that are very unique to a select few. You’d stand out there and try to defend it, and it he’d hit it by you. You’d just go ‘Well, I don’t know what to do.’ But we weren’t alone. That’s for sure.”

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