Chris Sale quit chewing tobacco the day Tony Gwynn died
With the All-Star game being held in San Diego this year, it’s impossible not to think of San Diego Padres legend Tony Gwynn. The Hall of Fame outfielder played 20 seasons with the club, earning the nickname Mr. Padre.
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Gwynn died in 2014 after a bout with salivary gland cancer. Before his death, Gwynn suspected his use of chewing tobacco contributed to his cancer. His family filed a wrongful death suit against the tobacco industry in May.
Gwynn’s death hit the Major League Baseball community hard, especially players who used smokeless tobacco at the time. One of those players was American League All-Star starter Chris Sale. Following Gwynn’s death, the Chicago White Sox pitcher said he immediately stopped using chewing tobacco.
Chris Sale says he chewed tobacco from 2007 to the day Tony Gwynn died. Quit that day. “Haven’t touched it since,” lefty adds. #ASG
— Derrick Goold (@dgoold) July 11, 2016
Sale took it a step farther, saying Gwynn may have saved his life.
Chris Sale on Tony Gwynn’s impact on him: “To say that he saved my life, I don’t think it’s an understatement.”
— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) July 11, 2016
Gwynn was a beloved member of the baseball community, and it’s not a surprise that his death had a huge impact on current players. Tobacco use remains prevalent in today’s game, but Sale’s willingness to speak candidly on the subject is important.
If, like Gwynn, he can convince at least one other player to give up the habit, it can make a huge impact.
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Chris Cwik is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Chris_Cwik