BOSTON -- Hours after former Red Sox great Curt Schilling admitted publicly that his mouth cancer was all but certainly caused by the use of tobacco, manager John Farrell expressed hope that it would serve as a sobering reality to the many players who still use the substance.
"On the heels of the unfortunate passing of Tony Gwynn and now what Curt's been going through, you would think this would be more of a current beacon for guys to take note and know that there's a price to be paid if you're one of the unfortunate ones that is stricken by cancer," said Farrell.
It has been tough for Farrell to see Schilling go through his battle with cancer. Farrell was Schilling's final pitching coach in the Major Leagues for a championship Red Sox team in 2007.
"I think any time you've got a personal relationship with someone and they've been stricken with cancer, it hits closer to home," Farrell said. "You have that relationship with someone and you see what they're going through. You care for them and you're impacted because you see suffering. Hopefully, as I mentioned earlier, through Curt's journey and the unfortunate passing of Tony Gwynn, these are two All-Star, Hall of Fame-caliber players that should bring added awareness to players in the game today that they've suffered because of the use of smokeless tobacco."
Farrell had a chance to sit and talk to Schilling on May 28, the day the 2004 Red Sox had a reunion at Fenway.
"He came in and had a chance to sit down. We had been in communication through texts for a while and just trying to stay in touch with his progress and his recovery and the challenges that he faced," said Farrell. "And as we've all known and come to know Curt through an incredible competitive fire, I'm sure that served him well and his family well as he's dealt with this. Thankfully you hear that he's in remission so he's been fortunate enough to be around some very good medical care."
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.