Darren Daulton’s current battle with brain cancer has hit fans of the Philadelphia Phillies hard, but it’s even been a more difficult one for his ex-teammates.
In a Monday story in USA Today, former Phils’ manager and long-time Daulton teammate Larry Bowa wonders whether Veterans Stadium had anything to do with it. Not only has Daulton battled the disease, but ex-Phils’ teammates Ken Brett, Johnny Oates, John Vukovich and Tug McGraw succumed to this type of cancer. The common denominator is that all three played most of their careers in Veterans Stadium, often called a rat-infested dump in the years just before it was torn down. It’s hard to disagree with Bowa. Daulton was diagnosed earlier this month with glioblastoma, the most aggressive form of brain cancer.
Phillies fans who attended many games at “The Vet” as it was called, routinely complained about the unsanitary conditions inside.
When the city finally tore the place down in 2004, the only sadness came from people who recalled the great times the World Championship of 1980 and NL title of 1993 brought there. Most of the other memories were not as good.
Whatever, for one team in one stadium to have that many guys come down with the same thing has to be cause for concern and maybe even investigation. While it might or might not have something to do with Veterans Stadium, five Phillies players coming down with brain cancer (compared to four for the rest of baseball) is alarming.
One doctor called it a “coincidence” and the evidence suggests that he could be right because the Philadelphia Eagles played games in the same years in the same stadium without a single issue with brain cancer. So maybe there was another reason apart from the stadium that might have exposed the Phillies to harm or maybe the reason was the Phils played 82 games a year there as compared to the Eagles’ 10.
It’s a cause and effect that might never be solved, but it’s worth using every tool science has to examine. Either way, the most important thing to Bowa and the rest of Phillies Nation is for Daulton to get well now.