(CBS) A day before he takes the mound as the American League starter in the All-Star Game at Petco Park in San Diego, White Sox ace Chris Sale shared a touching story regarding Tony Gwynn, the Padres legend who passed away from cancer on June 16, 2014.
Gwynn openly cited part of the cause for his salivary gland cancer being his longtime using of chewing tobacco, though there is disagreement over that among medical experts. Nonetheless, it was on the day Gwynn died that Sale said he chose to stop using chewing tobacco himself.
“He actually made a very big impact in my life,” the 27-year-old Sale said Monday. “I remember, I chewed tobacco from 2007 until the day he passed away. I remember seeing that and just being so shocked. He was a larger-than-life person. He was an inspiration to the game for many, many people for a lot of different reasons. I quit that day and haven’t touched it since, so in a sense, I owe him a huge thank you not only for myself but for my family. Hopefully I can maybe sway somebody in the right direction as well like he did for me.”
A five-time All-Star, Sale will make his first start Tuesday. He’s 14-3 with a 3.38 ERA and 1.04 WHIP.