(Chris Gwynn photo by Associated Press)
I had a chance today to ask Chris Gwynn, the Mariners’ new director of minor league operations, about his Hall of Fame brother, Tony Gwynn, who underwent surgery last week to remove a cancerous tumor from inside his right cheek.
I’m happy to report that, according to Chris, all is well with his big brother so far, though as the article above points out, doctors caution it’s still too early to forecast a definitive outcome for Tony Gwynn.
“He’s doing great,” Chris said. “I talked to him yesterday for about an hour. He’s at home. The surgery was 14 hours, and they got all the work done, all the cancer out. Everybody I’ve talked to who’s seen him says he looks normal. I’ve talked to him, and he sounds like before he went in. He’s ticked off because his Aztecs are 1-3. So he’s obviously healthy.”
The last reference is to the San Diego State baseball team Tony Gwynn has coached since 2002 (including a memorable stint with Stephen Strasburg).
This is the second cancer operation in his mouth for Gwynn, 51, who used smokeless tobacco in his right cheek for his entire 20-year career. Tony believes the tobacco usage led to his cancer problems. Chris Gwynn, 47, played 10 years in the majors, and says he never chewed or dipped tobacco.
“it’s hard to say why,” he said. “Not that I think that’s what it is (causing his brother’s problems). He sure thinks that’s what it is.”
Whatever the cause, let’s just hope that all the cancer is out and never returns. Gwynn was not only a superb hitter, but one of the friendliest, most engaging players I’ve ever covered. He’s the kind of guy it’s easy to root for, especially in a battle this serious.