Gwynn, who was diagnosed with salivary gland cancer in 2010, publicly stated that he believed his years of smokeless tobacco use throughout his career was the cause. He passed away at the age of 54 last Monday, and upon hearing the news, Reed was inspired to make a serious change to his lifestyle.
On that very same day, Reed collected seven cans of dip from his locker and two from his car, pitched them in the garbage and vowed to quit the addiction he had struggled with for years, according to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com.
“It’s one of those things where I’ve done it for so long it’s just become a habit, a really bad habit,” Reed said of using smokeless tobacco. “It was something I always told myself I would quit, like next month, and the next thing you know it’s been six or seven years.”
Reed, who played for Gwynn at San Diego State University, tried smokeless tobacco for the first time his junior year in high school.
“It started to get bad my first year in pro ball and it’s one of those things where I’ve always done it,” he said. “I’d come to the field and throw one in and have multiple ones. I’d have one on the ride home, one on the way to the field and it was one of those things where I always had one with me.”
But that’s no longer true. Although Reed admitted it has been tough, he’s dedicated to quitting cold turkey out of respect to Gwynn.
“These five days have been kind of rough, but I think it’s something that’s doable,” Reed said. “I don’t have any cans in my locker, so as long as I don’t go and buy any, I should be all right.”
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