Former Major Leaguer Bill Tuttle Dies of Cancer
ANOKA, Minn. (AP) -- Former major leaguer Bill Tuttle, who lost much of his jaw and cheek to cancer and became a leading spokesperson against chewing tobacco, died at age 69. Tuttle died Monday.
He was diagnosed with oral cancer in September 1993. His doctors said the cancer stemmed from his 37 years of chewing tobacco, a habit he picked up in the big leagues. Several of his baseball cards show him with a wad of chaw bulging from his cheek. His 11-year major league career, which included stays with the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Athletics and Minnesota Twins, ended in 1962. Tuttle subsequently became actively involved in Oral Health America's National Spit Tobacco Education Program, speaking to major and minor league baseball players, schools and health and dental organizations across the country.
Tuttle said in 1996 that he wanted baseball players to see his cancer-ravaged face and to think about the example they're setting for youngsters. He asked players to refrain from chewing while they can be caught by the camera. ``But it's going to be pretty hard to tell someone making $4 million a year not to chew,'' he conceded. ``So what we're trying to do is get it off TV.''
Oral Health America has named the Bill Tuttle Award in his honor, to be given each year to individuals or groups who distinguish themselves in the ongoing fight for tobacco awareness and education.
Funeral services were scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday at the Family of Christ Lutheran Church in Andover, Minn.