GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Tony Gwynn Jr. is breathing a sigh of relief, because Tony Gwynn Sr. is already doing radio interviews, less than a week after five doctors performed an intricate 14-hour operation to remove a cancerous tumor in his mouth.
"The doctors did an unbelievable job," said the outfielder and son of the Hall of Famer, now the baseball coach at his alma mater, San Diego State University. "When he came out of the surgery, he said, 'All right, I made it.' Last time he had surgery, he couldn't talk."
The elder Gwynn, 51, blames his rare form of cancer on the use of smokeless tobacco when he played. The cancer was on the same side of his mouth where he would place the tobacco.
He underwent surgery for a cancerous tumor in the same spot 18 months ago. This time, surgeons grafted a nerve from his shoulder to replace a nerve that had become intertwined with the tumor.
"The second time, you feel the odds are more against you, from the son's perspective," said Gwynn Jr. "God works in mysterious ways."