Tony Gwynn in 2011
California yesterday (October 11) banned use of chewing tobacco by Major League Baseball players — the first state to do so, according to marketwatch.com. A bill to ban snuff was initially introduced in February.
The law takes effect before the 2017 season and affects the Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, Anaheim Angels, San Francisco Giants, and Oakland Athletics. California is the first state to make such a move. Major League Baseball, facing opposition from the players' union, tried unsuccessfully to ban it, but it is banned at the minor league level.
The move is particularly poignant in San Diego. Padres Hall-of-Famer and former San Diego State baseball coach Tony Gwynn said in 2010 that he had salivary gland cancer, and he blamed it on decades of chewing tobacco. Gwynn died in June of last year.
Former San Diego State star pitcher Stephen Strasburg, now in the big leagues, and former Padres manager Bruce Bochy worked hard to kick the addiction. Former Padres players Jake Peavy and Mark Kotsay did not favor a ban, and Gwynn did not work to eliminate its use among others players.
San Diegan Doug Harvey, former Major League umpire, and also a member of the Hall of Fame, blames his esophageal cancer on longtime use of chewing tobacco. He has toured the nation making speeches against the addiction.