As Phillies third baseman, Mike Schmidt battled every foe as hard as he could. And as a result, it led him to the baseball hall of fame, a World Series title, and onto lists of the all-time greats.
As a man, Schmidt beat an even more important foe; skin cancer.
Schmidt, who is slated to be in the booth on for 13 Sundays this season during Phillies' broadcasts, told reporters Sunday he had been diagnosed with stage-3 melanoma last August and underwent chemotherapy and radiation.
“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 told reporters. “I was hoping I would never see anything like that. But it became normal for more, for over a month.”
Schmidt said he learned about his illness when he went to a dermatologist to ask about a spot on his hand. He learned a valuable lesson he hopes he can pass on.
"Obviously the moral of the story is, everybody, get your skin checked," he said. "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."
Schmidt was unable to be a guest instructor, like he normally is, this season in Phillies spring training. But the three-time NL MVP hopes to return to camp next year to help with hitters.
"I feel fantastic right now," he said.
Schmidt has a scan scheduled for Monday to see how far his recovery has come.