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Former major-league baseball player and anti-spit tobacco champion Bill Tuttle died on 27 July 1998 in Anoka, Minnesota, after a long battle with oral cancer. He was 69. He is survived by wife Gloria; their three daughters Debra Heyers, Kimberly Oliver, and Cindy Chase; four children from a previous marriage—Patricia Bradley and Becky Porter, Robert, and James; and 17 grandchildren.
Tuttle was an outfielder, and is still remembered for his theatrical catches while playing 11 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Athletics, and the Minnesota Twins. His legacy, however, will extend far beyond the ballpark. Until his last days, Tuttle, along with his wife Gloria, was an outspoken critic of his nemesis: spit tobacco. He was a living example of the consequences of tobacco addiction, and he worked hard to exploit that example to the fullest.
Tuttle was born on 4 July 1929, in Farmington, Illinois. He played for Bradley University before being scouted by the Detroit Tigers. He bounced around in the minor leagues for four years before making it to “the bigs”. It wasn’t until Tuttle started in the major league that he began chewing tobacco. After an injury put Tuttle on the bench for longer than usual, a teammate offered Bill a chew, “just to pass the time”. Several of Tuttle’s baseball cards bear the image …