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Sunday, May 15, 2022

Ex-Mets and Phillies pitcher dies at 57, joining 5 other ex-Phillies to die of brain cancer recently

Former Mets prospect and pitcher David West, who also pitched for the Phillies, has died of brain cancer at 57 , the Phillies announced on Saturday.

West was a fourth-round pick of the Mets in the 1983 MLB Draft, and he pitched two seasons for them, before spending four seasons with the Minnesota Twins, including 1991, when they won the World Series.

West was traded to the Phillies on Dec. 5, 1992, spent four seasons in Philadelphia, then finished his career with the Boston Red Sox in 1998. He pitched in 1997 with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan.

With the Phillies in 1993-96, West, a member of the 1993 National League championship team, made 122 appearances, mostly out of the bullpen. He had a 15-18 record and a 3.50 earned run average with the Phillies, and compiled a 31-38 record and a 4.66 ERA in 202 games over his 10-year MLB career.

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, West is the sixth former Phillies player to die of brain cancer since 2003, following Ken Brett (2003), Tug McGraw (2004), Johnny Oates (2004), John Vukovich (2007), and Darren Daulton (2017).

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 15, 2022 at 02:36 PM | 28 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: brain cancer, david west, obituaries, phillies

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   1. The Duke Posted: May 15, 2022 at 04:21 PM (#6076819)
That's a lot of brain cancer. Was their stadium built on a landfill or an old manufacturing site ?
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: May 15, 2022 at 04:34 PM (#6076823)
Brett barely played for PHI, only one season. Oates only played there for two years. Vukovich was there for quite a few seasons, but he was mostly a AAA guy. That makes it pretty unlikely to be linked to the Vet.
   3. Howie Menckel Posted: May 15, 2022 at 04:35 PM (#6076824)
2003/04/07 is recent?
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: May 15, 2022 at 04:37 PM (#6076827)

That's a lot of brain cancer. Was their stadium built on a landfill or an old manufacturing site ?


Some have argued artificial turf had carcinogens. The Royals have had some brain cancer too - Brett, Dick Howser, Dan Quisenberry, Bob Tufts. Gary Carter had brain cancer - played on turf at the Big O. Still seems like too small a sample size to draw conclusions from IMO, but I don't really know.
   5. Walt Davis Posted: May 15, 2022 at 05:47 PM (#6076847)
Wasn't Vukovich also a long-time coach in Philly?

At a place where I worked, a guy got Hodgkins (survived). The guy who took over his office a couple of years later got Hodgkins (survived). Another guy nearby got full-blown skin cancer (fatal). All in their 30s and early 40s, the cases all over about a 4-5 year period. As far as I know, everything's been fine since then but it was pretty freaky. We also had two guys in their 50s have strokes and one in his 60s had a serious heart attack (not exactly a surprise), all survived but it was a heavy toll on a place with 15-20 staff.
   6. Howie Menckel Posted: May 15, 2022 at 06:02 PM (#6076859)
as noted in the Varsho thread, Diamondbacks catcher Daulton John Varsho is named after above victims Daulton and Vukovich (long before the cancers, obviously).
   7. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 16, 2022 at 12:18 PM (#6076983)

RIP. I remember West as part of the package that the Mets traded to Minnesota for Frank Viola. Viola was good for the Mets, producing 10 WAR in two-and-a-half seasons, but the guys Minnesota got put up 35 WAR for that organization. But that was all Rick Aguilera and Kevin Tapani; West was basically replacement level for them and had all of his good seasons in Philly.
   8. Gary Truth Serum Posted: May 16, 2022 at 12:53 PM (#6076992)
Something similar came up in the 1980s when four New York Giants players (Dan Lloyd, Doug Kotar, John Tuggle and Karl Nelson) came down with cancer at various times, leading people to believe that the Meadowlands being built on top of a landfill had something to do with it. The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority actually spent $250,000 on a study to investigate this, concluding that there was no environmental cause to these diagnoses. This seemed plausible since the cancers themselves were unrelated and were of the type that had to have been festering long before the players played for the Giants. And the Giants and Jets played for over 20 more seasons at that site without any similar outbreaks.
   9. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: May 16, 2022 at 01:35 PM (#6076997)
If there was a cancer cluster, I would probably first look at the water supply, food and supplements/drugs they were giving the players before focusing on the turf or the landfill.
   10. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: May 16, 2022 at 02:10 PM (#6077000)
I remember West as one of the 1989 rookies whose cards I bought the crap out of at 25-50 cents each when I had a relatively well-paying college summer job and was flush with disposable cash. My other key targets were Ramon ("Wrong Brother") Martinez, Robin Ventura, and Ty Griffin, but I was smart enough to pass on Ken Griffey Jr because I wasn't going to be fooled into paying a whole dollar for cards of such an overhyped unproven player. His memory lives on with me because he shares a name with one of the players in the band I lead. RIP.

And be sure to like and follow for more card investment tips!
   11. Adam Starblind Posted: May 16, 2022 at 02:26 PM (#6077002)
I was annoyed when the Mets included him in the trade for Viola. I should've been more concerned about Tapani. (was suitably annoyed about Aguilera)
   12. VCar Posted: May 16, 2022 at 02:49 PM (#6077005)
Something similar came up in the 1980s when four New York Giants players (Dan Lloyd, Doug Kotar, John Tuggle and Karl Nelson) came down with cancer at various times, leading people to believe that the Meadowlands being built on top of a landfill had something to do with it. The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority actually spent $250,000 on a study to investigate this, concluding that there was no environmental cause to these diagnoses. This seemed plausible since the cancers themselves were unrelated and were of the type that had to have been festering long before the players played for the Giants. And the Giants and Jets played for over 20 more seasons at that site without any similar outbreaks.


that was around the same time the rumor about Hoffa being buried in the end zone arose. gave new meaning to the term 'coffin corner'
   13. Howie Menckel Posted: May 16, 2022 at 04:02 PM (#6077018)
leading people to believe that the Meadowlands being built on top of a landfill had something to do with it.

The Sports Complex was built on top of a swamp (wetlands), not a landfill.

well, mostly. it also replaced some warehouses, some homes, a trucking terminal - and yes, some garbage dumps. just enough to get some people to buy into the idea.
   14. It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out Posted: May 16, 2022 at 04:57 PM (#6077033)
That's a lot of brain cancer. Was their stadium built on a landfill or an old manufacturing site ?


It might be Lenny Dykstra's fault--Van Slyke did say center field at the Vet was like a toxic waste dump.
   15. DFA Posted: May 16, 2022 at 07:06 PM (#6077064)
The Sports Complex was built on top of a swamp (wetlands), not a landfill.


Insert joke about New Jersey...
   16. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 17, 2022 at 01:12 AM (#6077135)
Something similar came up in the 1980s when four New York Giants players (Dan Lloyd, Doug Kotar, John Tuggle and Karl Nelson) came down with cancer at various times


Spider Lockhart was another NYG who died of cancer at 43.
   17. Howie Menckel Posted: May 17, 2022 at 09:22 AM (#6077144)
I had an ex-GF whose father had Giants season tickets via Spider - they served in the Army together, iirc.

I saw the Dad the morning after the Giants' first Super Bowl win in Pasadena. he still had confetti in his hair from the stadium celebration (he had taken a redeye home).
   18. Charles S. is pretty fast for an old guy Posted: May 17, 2022 at 09:56 AM (#6077149)
It might be Lenny Dykstra's fault


A reasonable speculation for virtually any negative story.
   19. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 17, 2022 at 10:35 AM (#6077151)
Also should been noted the other american sports story like this: 4 members of the san fran 49es developed lou gehrigs disease. Three from the 1964 team and dwight clark more recently. Its weird cause the odds are like 1 in 25,000 of getting this horrid disease.
   20. sunday silence (again) Posted: May 17, 2022 at 10:35 AM (#6077152)
double post
   21. Fancy Pants Handle struck out swinging Posted: May 17, 2022 at 10:39 AM (#6077153)
If there was a cancer cluster, I would probably first look at the water supply, food and supplements/drugs they were giving the players before focusing on the turf or the landfill.

Always apply Occam's razor. In this case, one must conclude that Philadelphia rots brains.
   22. Adam Starblind Posted: May 17, 2022 at 12:16 PM (#6077161)
He lived, but don't forget John Kruk's ball!
   23. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: May 17, 2022 at 02:21 PM (#6077185)
leading people to believe that the Meadowlands being built on top of a landfill had something to do with it.

The Sports Complex was built on top of a swamp (wetlands), not a landfill.


Ask Hoffa.
   24. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: May 17, 2022 at 02:38 PM (#6077190)
Also should been noted the other american sports story like this: 4 members of the san fran 49es developed lou gehrigs disease. Three from the 1964 team and dwight clark more recently. Its weird cause the odds are like 1 in 25,000 of getting this horrid disease.
That's nothing; what do you think the odds are that a guy named Lou Gehrig would have gotten it?
   25. The Ghost of Sox Fans Past Posted: May 18, 2022 at 12:50 AM (#6077311)
The specific type of brain cancer is glioblastoma. My wife died from it. I know of no one else that she ever lived or worked with who contracted it.

This article sums it up very well. Here's the meat of it:
Glioblastoma is one of the most aggressive and deadliest forms of cancer.

According to the National Brain Tumor Society, the two-year survival rate is 30% and the five-year survival rate is only 6.8%. Most people succumb to the aggressive disease within 12-18 months. It’s a form of cancer that has been diagnosed for a century, with little headway on any kind of treatment.

More than 10,000 people will die of glioblastoma each year, and since 2003, that number includes six former Philadelphia Phillies.
   26. SoSH U at work Posted: May 18, 2022 at 10:47 AM (#6077325)
I'm terribly sorry to hear that Ghost.
   27. . Posted: May 18, 2022 at 11:01 AM (#6077327)
A lot of people were hit with cancer in my old fake law government agency building in DC. Or seemingly a lot; I'm not entirely sure what "a lot" would be in this context. We're talking 7-8 in their 30s or 40s, multiple deaths, within less than ten years. Probably 700-ish employees in the building, probably of New Deal vintage. It sure seems like a lot, and I occasionally gallows humor it with former colleagues.(*) It seems like a lot of Phillies were stricken and this is probably an even higher frequency.

There's little room for doubt that there are some carcinogenic environmental factors at work in various workplaces. Hard to prove definitively, though. If they definitively found some link at an all-purpose, synthetic turf stadium built in the late 60s/early 70s, it wouldn't be remotely surprising.

(*) And serious talk it, obviously. It's a tragic roll.
   28. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: May 18, 2022 at 11:18 PM (#6077439)
The starting outfield for the 1992 Dodgers-- Eric Davis, Brett Butler and Darryl Strawberry-- all got cancer before their 40th birthdays. Dodger Stadium has grass.

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