Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt is currently recovering from Stage 3 melanoma and spoke publicly for the first time about it Sunday from Bright House Field, the Phillies’ Spring Training camp in Clearwater, Fl.
Schmidt, 64, was in camp and discussed his battle with skin cancer, which kept him from being a guest instructor with the Phillies during spring training.
The three-time National League most valuable player plans to join the club’s television crew to work 13 home Sunday games this season, and to return to camp next year to work with the players.
The former third baseman was diagnosed with Stage 3 melanoma in August 2013 after he visited a dermatologist for a “crusty little thing” on his hand. The dermatologist decided to give him a full examination and found a mole on his back.
A biopsy revealed the melanoma was more serious than stage 1, and Schmidt spent the following months traveling between Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for treatment, and his home in Jupiter, Fla.
He underwent two surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment.
Schmidt, who arrived in Clearwater this weekend to begin his second tenure with the Phillies broadcast team, said the most recent scans of his body were clear of skin cancer.
“It was kind of a rough road for 2 to 3 months – I’m out of it now. I feel fantastic right now,” said Schmidt.
“I’m a very lucky man,” added Schmidt.
During treatment, Schmidt’s voice became raspy, he lost his taste buds, and he had trouble concentrating. He said he also had surgery to remove 35 lymph nodes.
Schmidt said he is taking pills for depression to aid him during his recovery, and that he is feeling fine.
He said his grandfather had suffered a bout with melanoma that cost him an ear.
The Phillies said on Jan. 22 that Schmidt was dealing with an unspecified health issue and would not be at spring training so he could ”remain near his doctors.” He had been in camp the previous 12 years, in uniform working with the team.
The 12-time All-Star and 10-time Gold Glover spent his whole career with Philadelphia, starting in 1972 and retiring in May 1989.
“I’ve done just about everything I can to destroy the cancer cells in my body,” Schmidt said.
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