Hall of Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn just finished chemotherapy for cancer of the parotid gland (The parotid gland is the largest of the saliva glands, and is the one that secretes saliva via Stenson's Duct, into the oral cavity).
The former Padre, outfielder, and dominant hitter of the 80's and 90's, who culled 3148 hits and a .338 career batting average, has always been a great representative of both athletics and especially baseball.
Gwynn won eight batting titles as a Major Leaguer, which ties him with Honus Wagner for the NL record in batting crowns. After his retirement the former left fielder became the baseball coach at San Diego State, where he matriculated, and he has spread his knowledgeable and gentle nature on ESPN as an analyst.
As a west coaster, I saw Gwynn more than a few times, but there are two instances of him that stick in my mind. The first, when he and Greg Maddux met on, I think ESPN, and discussed the art of hitting and pitching, particular to and off one another. It was fascinating to see these two smart and cerebral men discuss their art and approach.
The other was in 1986, when as part of the All Star Game festivities, Gwynn, and fellow hitter and HOF'er Wade Boggs, engaged in a hitting display where they were given pitches, and then tried to hit targets down the first and third base lines, as well as at short and second.
Amazingly, they could hit the targets more often than not!
Mostly, too, I can hear Gwynn's soft and gentle, yet self assured voice. And, I can see his great swing and bat-control, who like Boggs, and maybe Ichiro, seemed to be the best at their trade.
Apparently, during his chemo treatment, Gwynn lost his vision, but that is coming back, and well, as one who lost a partner to cancer, after rounds of chemo and treatment, I can only wish Mr. Gwynn the best and hope he is back on the field again soon.