Former San Diego Padres pitcher Randy Jones, the 1976 National League Cy Young Award winner, is battling throat cancer, he divulged on the team’s website.
Jones, 67, said he was diagnosed with the disease in November. He began chemotherapy and radiation treatments in mid-December.
“I feel positive,” Jones told the website earlier this week. “They caught it early. It’s all in the throat and not in the lymph nodes. I’m beating this thing.”
Jones is a member of the Padres Hall of Fame and was one of the team’s first big stars. He also played in an era when chewing tobacco was frequently used, and Jones said his doctor told him his cancer is linked to the tobacco use.
“I chewed as a player,” Jones said. “I smoked cigars most of my adult life. I started dipping eight or nine years ago. There’s a link, it’s all related. But I’m lucky because I’ve been told this is a low-risk cancer. Again, it’s in my throat, right above my vocal chords.
“It’s a tough grind, but I have to get it done. Food right now tastes terrible. I’ve lost 10 pounds. But I’m following orders. They tell me what to do and I do it. I’m on a ‘keep it simple, stupid’ program. I just say yes to all orders.”
Jones played for the Padres from 1973 to 1980. The left-handed sinkerballer went 20-9 and led the National League with a 2.24 ERA and finished second in the Cy Young balloting in 1975 before having his best season one year later.
Jones went 22-14 with a 2.74 ERA in 40 starts with 25 complete games in 1976. He was the National League’s starting pitcher in the All-Star Game.
However, he pitched 315 1/3 innings that season and injured his pitching arm in his final start and never regained his All-Star form.
Jones went 92-105 with a 3.30 ERA and 18 shutouts in his eight season with the Padres.
He pitched his final two season for the New York Mets and finished his career with exactly 100 major-league wins.