Mike Schmidt : Phillies legend discusses illness

Mike Schmidt : Phillies legend discusses illness
Mike Schmidt : Phillies legend discusses illness

Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt revealed Sunday that he had been diagnosed with stage-3 melanoma last summer. Though Schmidt said that he is now cancer-free, the melanoma forced him to undergo radiation and chemotherapy treatments and surgery to remove his lymph nodes.

“I’m a lucky man,” he said outside the team’s training complex.

Schmidt 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 revealed he was somewhat uncomfortable with the sun shining on him as he spoke to the media while seated on a picnic bench just outside the Phillies clubhouse at Bright House Field.

“You get scared of the sun, man,” he said.

Schmidt also invoked the words made famous by Lou Gehrig, calling himself the “the luckiest man alive” for making a random trip to his dermatologist late last summer.

“I was doing a closing on a house and I had a thing on my hand,” Schmidt said. “I just went in and said, ‘Can you look at this” and he said, ‘Why don’t I take a look at your whole body while you’re here. 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.”

Jenn Minsker