CLEARWATER, Fla. – It started with what he thought was a routine visit to his dermatologist to have a spot on his hand checked.
That’s how Mike Schmidt, the greatest Phillie of them all, found out he had cancer last August.
“I’m the luckiest man alive that I happened to duck into my dermatologist that day,” Schmidt said during a visit to Phillies camp Sunday. “I had a thing on my hand. I just went in and said, ‘Can you take a look at this?’ The doctor said, ‘Why don’t I take a look at your whole body.’“
The doctor found a mole on Schmidt’s back – stage 3 melanoma.
Schmidt, 64, recently completed six months of treatment for the disease, which he said was also found in his lymph nodes. He had radiation and chemotherapy treatments and is now healthy.
“The moral of the story is, everybody, get your skin checked,” Schmidt said. “If I hadn’t gone into see my dermatologist in late August, I might still have it. It might be more than Stage 3. Even though that was a tough couple months, I’m a very lucky man.”
Treatments prevented Schmidt from coming to camp earlier for his annual stint as a guest instructor. He hopes to be in uniform next spring training.
But Schmidt will be quite visible this season – more visible than he has been in years. He has signed on with Comcast SportsNet to serve as a color man for 13 home broadcasts this season. He’ll join Tom McCarthy and either Matt Stairs or Jamie Moyer for Sundays with Schmidt, as they’re calling it (see broadcast schedule).
“I’m very excited about it,” Schmidt said. “I’ll come in Saturday afternoon, sit through the Saturday night broadcast, chat with the guys, maybe do a little tease Saturday night and come back to do the broadcast Sunday.”
Schmidt said the Sunday broadcasts will be fun for him and viewers.
“The Sunday broadcasts are not going to be filled with information and stats,” he said. “It’s going to be more of an entertainment day. Who knows what’s going to come up, but it’s going to be a lot lighter.”
After what he went through the last six-plus months, Schmidt is ready for some fun.
“I’ve done just about everything I could do to destroy the cancer cells in my body,” he said. “I feel fantastic now.”