Tue May 20 09:19am EDT
Indeed, just like in real life, baseball is full of courageous stories of battles with the disease. In fact, you could probably field a pretty good lineup with players who have helped raise plenty of awareness and money for the fight.
So without further delay, here's the MLB All-Cancer Survivor team. It's not a complete list, but it seems to make for a rather formidable lineup card. Plus, take look at all of the lefty pitchers. That's scary stuff for southpaws.
1. Brett Butler, CF — In '96, four months after being a throat cancer patient, Butler returns to the lineup, walks and scores the winning run for the Dodgers.
2. Mark Loretta, SS — Diagnosed with skin cancer in '04, same season as his first All-Star appearance, and still is going.
3. Eric Davis, LF — Doctors find a — no kidding — baseball-sized tumor in his colon in '97, but Davis hits it out of the park and responds with one of his finest seasons in '98.
4. Darryl Strawberry, RF — The guy comes back from colon cancer in '98 to hit 24 homers for the World Series champ Yanks, but other demons had messed up his career long before that.
5. Andres Galarraga, 1B — Had three 40-plus homer seasons leading to '99 season, which he missed because of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, but comes back in '00 with a .302/28 HR/100 RBI performance.
6. John Kruk, DH — Loses his right testicle in '94 and, as he recovered from treatment, wore a T-shirt that read on its front, "If you don't let me play..." and on its back, "I'm going to take my ball and go home." Plays final season on Chicago's South Side.
8. Eli Marrero, C — Thyroid cancer in '98, but had 66 career homers in parts of 10 seasons.
9. Mike Gallego, 2B — Feared death when diagnosed with testicular cancer in 1983, but he's the Rockies third-base coach today after 13 seasons in the majors as a player.
Dave Dravecky, LHP — Many have seen the horrible video of his arm breaking on a pitch to Tim Raines in '89, but he was looking like a real, regulation miracle up to that point. His story still offers hope.
Jon Lester, LHP — "I can't tell you which one means more to me than the other," Lester says. "The World Series is, obviously, the World Series. How many people get to say they've won that? And a no-hitter is a no-hitter. How many people can say they've done that?"
Scott Radinsky, LHP — Hodgkin's disease disrupts darned good career in '94, but he had several very good seasons thereafter. Now the pitching coach for the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, and still a punk rocker as frontman for Pulley.
Danny Jackson, LHP — Thyroid cancer helped to end his career prematurely, but today he runs a first-class bowling alley near KC.
Doug Davis, LHP — Rehab in minors continues for Davis, who pitched (and did well) just hours before surgery to remove a cancerous thyroid last month.
Joe Torre, manager — Docs find prostate cancer in '99, which would have sealed the deal for a TV movie right there — except they already had made it two years before.
Dusty Baker, coach — Baker's prostate cancer in 2001 preceded a World Series berth with the Giants.
Bud Selig, commissioner — Removes Brewers from portfolio, adds "Spider-Man 2" logo to bases, has skin cancer removed from forehead — all in '04.