20 years ago, Tony and Rickey made history

'Mr. Padre' takes final bow after stolen-base king notches 3,000th hit

October 7th, 2021

SAN DIEGO -- It's been 20 years since two Padres outfielders made history at Qualcomm Stadium on the final day of the 2001 season.

On the very same October day, capped his remarkable 20-year career, while joined Gwynn in the 3,000-hit club.

It almost wasn't that way. Prior to that day’s game against the Rockies, Henderson approached Gwynn and offered to sit. He felt as though the spotlight should be on Gwynn.

"I talked him out of that real quickly," Gwynn later said in an interview.

"He came to me and said, ‘Today would be special if you played. Today would not be special if you don't play,’" Henderson added.

Henderson recorded hit No. 3,000 in the first inning, a double into shallow right field. The Padres poured out of the dugout, and the game was put on pause while Henderson was honored. The rest of the day was about Gwynn.

At the time, Gwynn was battling a balky knee, and he started the game on the bench. But he pinch-hit in the ninth inning and grounded out to rapturous applause from the 60,103 fans packed into Qualcomm Stadium. That at-bat cemented his Hall of Fame career -- 3,141 career hits and an absurd .338 career batting average, the best mark since Ted Williams.

After the game, a ceremony ensued, in which Gwynn was presented with a Harley Davidson motorcycle by his teammates.

"I've done all I can do as a baseball player," Gwynn said.

Two years later, Henderson joined Gwynn in concluding his Major League career. A few years after that, they became teammates once again in Cooperstown.