Arizona Diamondbacks reliever Addison Reed quits chewing tobacco because of Tony Gwynn

  • David Whitlock

Believe it or not, Tony Gwynn is still coaching despite his death last week.  Of course, it’s figuratively, and in this case, not necessarily about baseball.  Arizona Diamondbacks relief pitcher Addison Reed, a former player under Gwynn at San Diego State, took the news of his death and acted right away.  He gave up smokeless tobacco.  Gwynn died of oral cancer, almost certainly an effect of two decades of using tobacco in the major leagues.  Reed didn’t want the same fate (via Steve Gilbert of MLB.com)

Reed arrived at Chase Field [on Monday after hearing of Gwynn’s death] and gathered the seven cans of smokeless tobacco that he had in his locker and dumped them in the trash.  Then he took the two he had in his car and disposed of them as well.

“It’s one of those things where I’ve done it for so long it’s just become a habit, a really bad habit,” Reed said of using smokeless tobacco. “It was something I always told myself I would quit, like next month, and the next thing you know it’s been six or seven years.”

Reed pledges to be tobacco free (Credit: AP/Gregory Bull)

Reed pledges to be tobacco free
(Credit: AP/Gregory Bull)

Reed played for Gwynn in 2010 for the San Diego State Aztecs (along with Stephen Strasburg).  He currenly is 7th in the National League with 17 saves (for a team with only 32 wins).

Smokeless tobacco is banned in the minor leagues but has not been outlawed as part of the Collective Bargaining Agreement at the major league level.  As part of the latest agreement, teams can no longer supply it, players cannot do interviews with it, and it cannot be on their person, a step toward a ban, but well short.  Most criticizers of the use of smokeless tobacco cite the popularity of baseball and its players with youth, who are programmed to want to do what their heroes do.  It’s hard to explain to a child “yes, the player we cheer for does it but you should not.”

I’ve even heard suggestions the Bud Selig could try and act unilaterally to ban it on his way out as commissioner, but with union-league relations in a state of peace, that would be far fetched.

At least there is one fewer player who isn’t using.  Maybe others will follow his lead and voluntarily the senseless habit will abate.

– David Whitlock

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PHOTO: Tony Gwynn Jr. locker seen with vintage baseball card of his father
Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn dies at 54
VIDEO: Keith Olbermann Pays Tribute To Tony Gwynn

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David Whitlock

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David (a.k.a. Longhorndave or lhd_on_sports) joined the staff late in the 2012 season and moved to Site Manager in early 2013. A lifelong Houston Astros fan (and mini-season ticket holder for 9 years) he attends 20+ games per year. A statistics freak, David still keeps score the "old fashioned way" on occasion (and has kept manual score of World Series games since 1986 and retains the sheets). He was a featured guest weekly on the Phil Naessens Show. He is also a Texas Longhorns alumnus and huge football and baseball fan of his alma mater. When he isn't watching or writing about baseball, he works as a contractor at NASA Johnson Space Center. He lives by the mantra "a bad day at the ballpark is better than a good day anywhere else."

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