MLB Hall Of Famer Mike Schmidt Talks Phillies, Surviving Skin Cancer

It’s the time of year when keeping skin protected from the summer sun should be on the top of everyone’s mind.

This phenomena is especially important to legendary baseball Hall-of-Famer Mike Schmidt, who knows he’s lucky to be alive. After years of exposure to the sun, he was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2012.

Schmidt was a 12-time All-Star and a three-time winner of the National League (NL) Most Valuable Player award.

He was known for his hitting and defense. As a hitter, Schmidt compiled 548 home runs and 1,595 runs batted in. The former-Philadelphia Phillies player led the NL in home runs eight times and in RBIs four times.

Image via T. Rohrer Photo

Mike Schmidt won the battle with skin cancer and I sat down with him briefly discuss his history with skin cancer, as well as the Philadelphia Phillies’ story this year.

Jon: Before we get into your story with skin cancer, what do you think of the Phillies this year? They are definitely a team on the rise.

Mike Schmidt: “The Phillies are an interesting baseball study this year. They are a team that is labeled as rebuilding. There wasn’t a lot of optimism about the Phillies chances this year going into the season. Like baseball, it is very unpredictable. They got out of the shoot pretty good this year once they got out of the opening series.”

“They lost the first four games, but after that, their record has been as good as every team in baseball with the exception of the Cubs. They hovered around.500 and got through May. At about five games over.500, they got in touch with the National East leaders, the Washington Nationals and the Mets. They hit a little bit of a rough spell in that last 10 days or so.”

“I think we’ve gone two and eight in our last 10 games. Everybody is kind of wondering if this is the reality of the Phillies. They spoiled us all year. Really, they haven’t hit much in the entire year. They’re very-limited on the offense side. They have great pitching. Their relief pitchers might make the all-star team. The starters are doing real well.”

Schmidt Images

Jon: Mike, tell us your story with skin cancer and what can we learn from that and what can people do to prevent risk moving forward?

Mike Schmidt: “I want to thank the American Academy of Dermatologists for allowing us to partner with them to get the word out. Of course, it’s [Dr. Thomas Rohrer’s] area of expertise. I’m an example of someone that, from the baby boomer generation, that spent a lot of time in the sun. Sunscreen was not a part of my early childhood life. On through high school and college, I don’t ever really remember putting on sunscreen before I went out into the sun.”

“In fact, I spent a lot of time as a lifeguard and a baseball player, of course, and an athlete out in the sun. Laying in the sun thinking I could get sun tan, iodine, baby oil, all of that stuff we used to use to try to turn our skin brown. It eventually caught up with me. I was diagnosed in September of 2013 with stage 3 melanoma with a mole found on my back.”

“They biopsied and real quickly, I was very lucky. I was in Florida for one day to close on a new house we had purchased there and had a little thing on my hand. I ran over to see the doctor. In fact, I went on the way to the airport and said, ‘Let me take a look at your whole body while you’re here.'”

“It wasn’t even a scheduled appointment. It a thing on my hand that was bothering me. The doctor said, ‘Something on your back look strange. I think I’m going to biopsy it.’ So, he biopsied it, and this was towards the end of August of 2013. I got a call about three days later that said, ‘I got some unfortunate news for you. We think this is right around stage 3 melanoma.'”

“It turned out to be that. Of course, we put things in motion to get the thing removed from my back and check my lymphs symptoms and scan the rest of the body. It was determined that we had a couple of questionable lymph nodes under my left underarm on the left side of my chest. It had gotten into my lymph system.”

“I got those removed and subsequently, radiation followed and interferon followed. I guess the best thing I could say about eight months we attacked this thing as hard as we could. I’m a lucky, lucky man to be here because I see my dermatologist regularly.”

Share this article: MLB Hall Of Famer Mike Schmidt Talks Phillies, Surviving Skin Cancer
More from Inquisitr