“The Brain Cancer That’s Killing Ballplayers” headlined New York Times Aug. 14. No reason is cited but callers told reporter Jere Longman to consider the radar guns that measure speed of pitches. He said he would.
The two-column length story says researchers who have looked at three other cases of cancer in Philadelphia Phillies have been unable to explain them except that they might be a “coincidence.”
NYT further adds that “possible cancer clusters are notoriously hard to prove.”
Radiation health advocates sent Longman O’Dwyer stories that point a finger at the microwave radar guns that measure the speed of every pitch. He told them he would look into that suggestion.
The incidence of cancer in members of the Phillies, according to a study by the Philadelphia Inquirer, is about three times the rate of the general male population. NYT found there were “limitations” in the study related to age and yearly cancer rates.
Quoted is Harvard epidemiologist Timothy Rebbeck who said the elevated risk to the Phillies could have resulted from chance.
Dr. Henry Friedman, neuro-oncologist, Duke University, told NYT there is not enough data “by a long shot.”
Death of Catcher Daulton Ignited Interest
Touching off conjecture over possible causes of cancer in ballplayers was the death Aug. 6 of catcher Darren Daulton, 55, from glioblastoma, called “the most aggressive and frequently diagnosed form of malignant brain tumor.”
Measuring the speed of baseball pitches and tennis serves with microwave laser beams may be causing brain tumors, critics say.
They say the incidence of brain tumors in tennis stars, baseball players and umpires is above the average in the general population for the age groups involved.
NYT Editors Dubious About Link
The NYT story, besides quoting Reddeck, also quotes three other alleged authorities who either deny any link or say study is needed. They are Dr. Corey Franklin, Chicago internist who urges more study; Dr. Henry Friedman, Duke University neurologist who sees no "definitive" relationship, and brain tumor epidemiologist at Baylor College who says, "We don't know for sure."
NYT was rebuffed in efforts to get comments from Dr. Gary Green, medical director of Major League Baseball, or anyone from the Players Union. O'Dwyer reporters were also rebuffed by both.
The NYT story fails to mention personal details of Daulton such as his family. He is survived by his wife Amanda Dick, former pro golfer, whom he married in 2013; four children, Summer, Savannah, Zachary and Darren II; his parents, Carol and Dave of Arkansas City, and brother Dave Jr. of Arkansas City.
The Arkansas Democrat Gazette on Aug. 15 ran a lengthy article that explored the possible connection of playing in Veterans Stadlum and cancer.
Five Who Played in Philly Were Afflicted
Health advocate Joe Imbriale, who hosts the Fullerton, Calif., Informer, tracked ten baseball players who had brain cancers, saying the numerous microwave radar guns that measure speed of every pitch may be the cause.
Five who played at Veterans Stadium for the Phillies including Tug McGraw, John Vukovich, Johnny Oates, Ken Brett and Daulton, developed brain tumors.
Daulton, it was reported by this website July 25, contracted two brain cancers that were successfully removed in 2013.
Gary Carter, who caught for the Montreal Expos for 11 years to 1984 when he was traded to the New York Mets, handling 300,000+ pitches that were measured by radar guns, developed brain cancer that led to his death at 57 on Feb. 16, 2012.
Dan Quisenberry, (1953-98), a right handed pitcher for the Kansas City Royals, who developed brain cancer on his left temporal lobe.Bobby bonds, father of Barry Bonds, an outfielder, developed brain tumor and lung cancer.
Vukovich (1947-2007) was an infielder who spent most of his career at third base. His brain tumor was diagnosed in 2001.
Catcher Oates (1946-2004) had a tumor in the back of his head in the brain stem.
Pitcher Ken Brett (1948-2003) had a tumor on his frontal lobe.
Catcher Daulton had two brain tumors that were successfully removed in 2013
Pitcher Ricky Stone of the Cincinnati Reds survived after being operated for a brain tumor in 2009.
Bobby Murcer (1946-2008) New York Yankees center fielder and broadcaster, died of a tumor that was on his right frontal lobe.
Curt Schilling, former Phillies pitcher and recently announced he was diagnosed with mouth cancer which he blamed on chewing tobacco.
San Francisco Giants pitcher Dave Dravecky developed cancer in his pitching arm that ended his career.
Tennis Pros Afflicted
Joe Imbriale tracked six youthful tennis stars who died of brain tumors and one who survived.
Todd Witsken, 34, three-time All-American at USC who won 11 doubles titles as a pro, died at 34 in 1998, 21 months after a tumor was removed from his brain
James Broach, 37, who won a national singles title at Trinity University, died in 2013, three years after developing a brain tumor.
Stephen Bell, 38. who won singles championships in in 1993-95 and 1997 in Cambridgeshire County, U.K., died Oct. 15, 2009 after a long bout with brain cancer.
Tim Gullikson, 44, longtime tennis pro who trained Pete Sampras, winner of 14 Grand Slam tennis matches, died May 3, 1996 of an inoperable brain cancer.
Chuck McKinley, 45, Wimbledon singles champion in 1963 and inducted into the Tennis Hall of Fame, died Aug. 11, 1986 from brain cancer which was diagnosed in May 1985.
Rene Simpson, 47, ranked tennis player including No. 32 in doubles, who captained Canada’s Fed Cup tennis team from 2001-09, died Oct. 17, 2013 after a long bout with brain cancer.
Helen Kelesi, Canadian tennis pro who was inducted into the British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame in 2008, survived brain cancer after seven operations. One tumor was the size of a tennis ball. She was afflicted in 1995 at age 26.
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