According to a report by TMZ Sports, nine major health organizations are using the death of San Diego Padre great Tony Gwynn as a catalyst to stop tobacco use in Major League Baseball. The report says that the organizations are calling on Commissioner Bud Selig and the MLB to totally ban tobacco from the ballparks.
Tony Gwynn died last week due to cancer was a known user of smokeless tobacco during his playing career. The death of Gwynn has already had an effect on at least one major leaguer, Washington Nationals pitcher, Stephen Strasburg who played for Gwynn at San Diego State.
“I think it’s a disgusting habit, looking back on it,” Strasburg said. “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 told ESPN.
In addition to Strasburg, Arizona Diamonback pitcher Addison Reed, another player under Gwynn, is also giving up the habit of smokeless tobacco.
In 2010 Gwynn was diagnosed with cancer in one of his saliva glands. He said at the time he believed it was due to his chewing tobacco habit while playing. On June 16th he lost his life at the age of 54.
Whether or not MLB or Commissioner Selig take the appeals under real consideration Gwynn’s death is having an affect on the lives of those who knew him and in the process may eventually save those lives as they quit the habit on their own.