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Tony Gwynn had facial nerve removed in 14-hour surgery for cancerous tumor

Feb 15, 2012, 2:14 PM EDT

Tony Gwynn ap AP

Tony Gwynn underwent a 14-hour surgery yesterday to remove a malignant tumor from his cheek, with Tom Friend of reporting that the Hall of Famer had a facial nerve taken out and replaced with a nerve from his shoulder.

Gwynn’s wife, Alicia Gwynn, told Friend that the surgery lasted until 1:00 a.m. and was deemed a success, as the cancerous tumor was completely removed.

Gwynn, who attributes the growth to his prior use of smokeless tobacco, underwent a somewhat similar procedure in 2010 that left him unable to smile for several months. Gwynn’s wife is optimistic that his recovery will be much easier this time around, noting that “his face looks good” already.

Friend writes that had the “complex” surgery not gone well yesterday Gwynn’s “face could’ve been partially paralyzed or slightly disfigured.” For now there’s hope that Gwynn will be feeling good enough to resume coaching at San Diego State next month, hopefully while displaying the same smile that baseball fans came to love during his 20-year career.

  1. 78mu - Feb 15, 2012 at 2:45 PM

    Get well soon Tony. Here’s praying for a full recovery.

  2. Lukehart80 - Feb 15, 2012 at 3:22 PM

    I’m no Padres fan, but Tony Gwynn has been one of my favorite players since I was a kid. He’s also a fun guy to listen to whenever he’s interviewed or brought into the booth as a guest.

    I hope his recovery is speedy and does not impair him from continuing to share his passion for the game.

    • whitneymuse - Jul 13, 2012 at 9:46 PM

      Ah ha; was watching the game at Dodger stadium and Tony was shown and he looked different; thanks for the explanation re the surgery.
      For such a long surgery he is showing very little residual problems.
      God bless, Tony.

  3. vanmorrissey - Feb 15, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    If you ever get to hear him in the booth its an education in itself. The details he provides and his knowledge of game situations makes him a really enjoyable listen. That plus his genuineness, he’s just a truly nice human being. Get well Tony, can’t wait to listen and watch this year, you make the Padres bearable.

  4. icanspeel - Feb 15, 2012 at 3:56 PM

    Growing up in San Diego.. Tony Gwynn was my childhood baseball hero, and I’ve enjoyed the time he has been an analyst for the Padres games, so I hope he has a good recovery and will get the chance to hear him as an analyst again. His wisdom and experience of the game is priceless.

  5. AlohaMrHand - Feb 15, 2012 at 5:07 PM

    Like I said,as a kid a tried imitating Gwynns batting stance and his swing.Hes one of the greats to ever play the game and is a class act.I wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to his return to both the broadcast booth and to the SDSU dugout.

  6. Old Gator - Feb 15, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    What they said. Hang in there Tony, you can beat this thing.

    In the meantime, a thought for the Kid, too. Just a crummy winter all around for medical news out of the game.

  7. dad4dds - Feb 15, 2012 at 5:36 PM

    Praying for you Tony!

  8. cur68 - Feb 15, 2012 at 6:53 PM

    Some good news for Mr. Gwynn. I’m real glad to see this. Here’s hoping for a smooth recovery.

  9. peed1 - Feb 15, 2012 at 8:40 PM

    Don’t smoke, chew or dip.

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