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Baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn Blames Smokeless Tobacco for Oral Cancer


San Diego Padres’ Tony Gwynn
Tony Gwynn had 3,141 base hits and a .338 career batting average over his 20-year career with the Padres.

What a shame, but a word to the wise.

Tony Gwynn, the Hall of Fame outfielder who 18 months ago blamed smokeless tobacco for a malignant growth inside his right cheek, was in his 13th hour of surgery Tuesday evening to remove a new cancerous tumor in the same spot.

According to Gwynn’s wife, Alicia, doctors do not believe the cancer has spread outside of Gwynn’s salivary gland. But she expects to know more after Tuesday’s intricate surgery, in which she said five doctors would likely perform a nerve graft to preserve Gwynn’s facial functions. The operation began at approximately 9:15 a.m. PT, and, as of 11 p.m. PT, the 51-year-old Gwynn was still in the operating room.

Tony told them to take [the malignant tumor] all out,” Alicia Gwynn said Tuesday morning. “They said they may need to remove the facial nerve — they might have to go a lot deeper. But he just told them to take it out. And if they do remove the facial nerve, they’ll replace it with a nerve from his shoulder or his leg.

Please don’t use smokeless tobacco and if you do QUIT.