Orioles Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson, perhaps the greatest third baseman in baseball history, revealed Tuesday that he has undergone successful treatment for prostate cancer.
"It was diagnosed very early, and I underwent 39 radiation treatments," Robinson said during a downtown luncheon for the American Cancer Society. "I feel healthy and fine, and I'm grateful that I was vigilant about my health."
Robinson, 71, chose Tuesday's luncheon - which honored patrons of the American Cancer Society's Patient Resource Navigation Program - to reveal his illness publicly for the first time.
The resource program installs "navigators" at hospitals in the Baltimore area and around the country to help cancer patients through the difficult process of digesting their diagnosis and finding the help they need to navigate treatment. The program was founded by local philanthropist Stewart Greenebaum in conjunction with the American Cancer Society.
"I've been very fortunate to have an incredible wife [Connie] and family to support me," Robinson told a group of about 40 ACS supporters, "the finances to get medical care and the good fortune to be in my adopted hometown of Baltimore, which boasts the best medical care you can get anywhere in the world. When you are diagnosed with cancer, your only focus should be on getting better. If you don't know where to go for help, you can't get it. If you don't know what questions to ask, you can't get the answers."
Robinson spent 23 years in the Orioles organization before retiring in 1977. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983, capping a career in which he made the American League All-Star team 15 consecutive times and won 16 Gold Gloves. He holds numerous all-time fielding records.
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