“The best thing for me has just been the passion of wanting to play. The challenge of stepping in the box, the challenge of trying to be successful. When I started out, I guarantee you nobody figured I would be where I am today. Nobody. Not even myself. Maybe there’s something that makes you want to go out and prove people wrong, but for me, it’s just the passion of loving to do what I do.”

-Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, in Sports Illustrated, 1999. Gwynn died of salivary gland cancer June 16, at the age of 54.

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See also:

Sports Illustrated’s First Profile of Gwynn (1984)

(via Howard Riefs)