Phillies legend and Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt has revealed that not long ago he was faced with a fight for his life. As Schmidt told reporters on Sunday, he was diagnosed with Stage III melanoma in August of last year and subsequently underwent chemotherapy and radiation. The good news, as Philly.com's Ryan Lawrence writes, is that the most recent scans showed Schmidt to be cancer free. More from Lawrence:
Schmidt, 64, was unable to perform his regular duties as a spring training guest instructor this year due to his health. A day after Phillies camp opened last month, on Feb. 14, Schmidt was undergoing his last round of chemotherapy.
“I had been in chemo-infusion centers sitting in a chair with a needle in my hand with people that are dying all around me,” Schmidt said. “I was hoping I would never see anything like that. But it became normal for more, for over a month.”
Schmidt says the cancer was discovered when he went to his dermatologist to ask about a spot on his hand. Here's the lesson Schmidt learned:
"... Obviously the moral of the story is, everybody, get your skin checked. I think at least once a month, now that I know what I know. I caught it early. If I hadn't gone into see my dermatologist in late August, I might still have it. It might be more than Stage 3. Even though that was a tough couple months, I'm a very lucky man."
Across parts of 18 major-league seasons, all with the Phillies, Schmidt clouted 548 home runs, won the NL MVP award three times and claimed 10 Gold Gloves. He's generally regarded as the greatest third baseman of all time.
Here's hoping this battle has been won for good.