Monday, July 22, 2013

Larry Bowa: Veterans Stadium to blame for brain cancer?

The Philadelphia Phillies have now had five former players fall victim to brain cancer after it was revealed that former catcher Darren Daulton is battling the vicious disease, as well.

First, pitcher Ken Brett passed away from the ailment in 2003. Then, reliever Tug McGraw and catcher Johnny Oates lost their battles one year later. Longtime coach John Vukovich died in 2007.

Now, former Phillies player and manager Larry Bowa believes there may be a connection between the fatal illness and the stadium the Phillies once played their home games in.

"Yeah, it's very scary," said Bowa, a Phillie for 24 seasons as a player, coach and manager. "I know cancer is a big illness in our society, but to have that many (Phillies) guys get brain cancer..."

The fact that a handful of former players have been dianosed with the disease has naturally left many folks wondering if there is a connection or if it's simply bad luck. One explanation involves blaming Veterans Stadium, home of the franchise from 1971 to 2003, and leveled in 2004.

""I know there were a lot of pipes that were exposed when we played there and we had AstroTurf.

"I'm not trying to blame anybody. It's just sort of strange that that can happen to one team playing at the Vet."

Dickie Noles, a pitcher on Philly's 1980 World Series team, echoed Bowa's thoughts.

"Once it happened to Tug, we were all in shock," he said. "Then once it happened to Vuk (Vukovich), the other ballplayers kind of had the feeling like, 'Wow.' Then when it happened to Daulton, every ballplayer I've seen talked about it.

"There seems to be some correlation with this and baseball. What was the Vet built on? Was it something in the building? The asbestos?"

Despite their concerns, there hasn't been any evidence to suggest that the cancer cases were anything more than coincidence, according to brain-tumor epidemiologist Jill Barnholtz-Sloan.

"They all played for the Phillies, but not in the same year. One played for a year, one for 10 years. So it's really difficult to say, 'Oh, it's because they played for the Phillies that this has happened.'

"Unfortunately, I think what you may end up with is just a very bizarre circumstance."

It should be noted that the Philadelphia Eagles played their home games at Veterans Stadium for decades and have yet to have a former member succumb to brain cancer. However, the Eagles played an average of eight games a year in the stadium, while the Phillies played around 81.

No case studies have been performed yet. But Bowa wishes somebody would do something.

"I think for guys that are still alive, it would ease some of their questions."


1 comment:

  1. Three SF 49ers died of ALS.....They tried to blame Kezar Stadium. NFW...Now Bowa is a research scientist? Veterans Stadium was responsible for Scott Rolen's bad back. That and Bowa asking him to carry a bad ballclub