The past week was a triumphant one for cancer survivors in baseball, with Boston's Jon Lester, who missed parts of the 2006 and 2007 seasons after being diagnosed with lymphoma, throwing a no-hitter Monday night at Fenway Park, and Arizona's Doug Davis returning to the mound Friday night, less than six weeks after surgery to remove a cancerous thyroid. But baseball has a long history of players conquering cancer, including these five prominent examples:
1. Alfredo Griffin
Blue Jays, 1984 »
Did Griffin really make an all-star team in a year in which he hit .241 (and only four walks in 441 plate appearances)? Yes -- with an explanation. A day-of-game injury to Alan Trammell necessitated a roster move, and Griffin at the time just happened to be on-site in San Francisco.
2. Mike Williams
Pirates, 2003 »
Apparently, Dusty Baker, the manager of the NL all-star team, ignored every other statistic besides saves when picking his bullpen, because Williams -- while amassing 25 saves at the break -- also had an unsightly 6.44 ERA (which Williams managed to reduce to 6.14 by the end of the season).
3. Mark Redman
Royals, 2006 »
How does a starter with a 5.27 ERA at the break make the all-star team? By playing for a horrible team. Redman's end-of-year stats: 11-10, 5.71 ERA. But someday, by golly, he can tell his grandkids he was an all-star.
4. Chris Cannizzaro
Padres, 1969 »
Twenty-nine years ago, Cannizzaro (.245 BA, .645 OPS at the break) was Jason Varitek, only without the accomplished career. Dude never hit more than six homers in any big league season.
5. Ken Harvey
Royals, 2004 »
This big lug played only two full seasons in the majors, but he was an all-star in half of them! Within 10 months of his appearance, he was out of the majors, and he was last seen in 2007 hitting .229 as a Twins farmhand.