Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Addison Reed isn’t the only one of Tony Gwynn’s former players who was given a much-needed wakeup call after Mr. Padre lost his battle with cancer. Stephen Strasburg, who also played for Gwynn at San Diego State, is giving up smokeless tobacco, too.
“I think it’s a disgusting habit, looking back on it,” Strasburg said earlier this week, via ESPN.com. “I was pretty naive when I started. Just doing it here and there, I didn’t think it was going to be such an addiction. … Bottom line is, I want to be around for my family. This is something that can affect people the rest of your life. [Chewing tobacco is] so prevalent in this game. It’s something we all kind of grew up doing.”
Strasburg said his decision to quit had a lot to do with his infant daughter, who was born this past offseason.
Gwynn was diagnosed with cancer of the salivary gland back in 2010. He also had cancerous tumors removed from the inside of his cheek in 2012. The Hall of Famer said publicly that he believed his cancer was caused by years of using smokeless tobacco.
It’s a shame that it takes something like the death of a baseball legend and tremendous person to bring about a positive change in the lives of others. That said, we’re glad to hear the dangers of smokeless tobacco are getting the recognition they deserve.