Philadelphia Phillies third baseman Mike Schmidt recently announced that he had successfully battled skin cancer. The Hall of Famer turned 64 last September, just weeks after learning that he had stage 3 melanoma. Unexpected news, even when it has a currently-good ending, hits deep and always brings perspective.
Some will offer tepid, often emotionally-based presentations, about who the greatest third baseman in history might have been. No sustained arguments need to be heard though, as all balanced minds realize that it was Schmidt. Case closed.
The Ohio native will always represent the Phillies' first 'Golden Era'. Anyone who is old enough to vividly remember the years that led up to that indelible 1980 season knows how significant number 20 was during those favored days.
Those who chose to always cheer him on, regardless of any specific at bat, or play in the field, fondly recall the red hair, the mustache, the bare hand plays to first base, every home run and that leap into Tug McGraw's arms on a mystical October night.
Two operations, combined with radiation and chemotherapy treatments, made Schmidty somewhat thinner for his spring training broadcast arrival. Heroes aren't invincible, as we know. But, thankfully this incredible athlete's body remained strong enough to win.