Gwynn’s love for the low-key atmosphere in San Diego and his devotion to the Padres may have been costly. He shunned free agency in favor of multiyear contracts, and in April 1997, after having won seven batting championships, he signed a three-year contract extension for $12.6 million. In its final season, 104 players earned more than his $4.3 million salary, according to The Times.
But he told The Times during his final season: “Twenty years in one place, one city. It looks good.”
To my mind Gwynn was a player like Jeter is today; a humble, sweet, hard working, lover of the game.