Hey, Baseball, It's Time to Ban Chewing Tobacco
Let Tony Gwynn's death be the last reminder we need: Ernie Palladino
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2014 1:05 PM CDT
In this Oct. 7, 2001, photo, San Diego Padres' Tony Gwynn acknowledges the standing ovation prior to his last game.   (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi, File)

(Newser) – Baseball great Tony Gwynn is dead at age 54 from cancer that he blamed on his years-long habit of chewing tobacco. While the number of big-leaguers that use the stuff is dropping, about 1 in 3 are still in the habit, reports USA Today, citing stats from the Pro Baseball Athletic Trainers Society. The league has taken steps to curb its use—for example, players can't have a wad in their mouth during TV interviews, and the days of free tins in the clubhouse are long gone—but this is no longer enough, writes Ernie Palladino at CBS Sports.

For Major League Baseball, "it's time to ban chewing tobacco," he writes. Sure, defenders will talk about the culture of the game and worry about "sissifying" it, but that's just outdated thinking. The NFL and NHL have taken steps to make their sports safer for players, and MLB must do the same. "It’s too late for the best pure hitter of our generation," writes Palladino. "But with a little change in culture, MLB could save others." Click for his full column.

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Showing 3 of 54 comments
Jun 21, 2014 10:53 AM CDT
Nothing like watching tobacco juice run down a chin and a pitcher spitting a huge hocker on HiDef TV.
Jun 21, 2014 8:12 AM CDT
I fully support the right for every wingnut on the planet to shove as many toxins as they want into their body. It's for the good of civilized society. That said, MLB can set any rules they want for their players. I would like to see them outlaw treating the dugouts like giant dumpsters.
Jun 20, 2014 11:51 PM CDT
My great grandfather died from chew caused oral cancer, and my ex-husband took up chew after he quit smoking. I adored that man, but chew made his kisses disgusting. I begged him to quit all the time. It's a really disgusting habit. My sympathies to Mr. Gwynn and his family. What a shame.