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Originally published Wednesday, August 6, 2008 at 12:00 AM


AL | Babe Ruth killed by rare cancer, researcher says

Anybody who knows anything about New York Yankees lore knows about the death of Babe Ruth and his bittersweet farewell to baseball. Stooped and frail, the...

Anybody who knows anything about New York Yankees lore knows about the death of Babe Ruth and his bittersweet farewell to baseball.

Stooped and frail, the legendary slugger came to Yankee Stadium in 1948 wearing his pinstripe uniform to hear the cheer of the crowd one more time. He died two months later at age 53, reportedly of throat cancer, brought on in part by a fondness for tobacco and liquor.

But that's all wrong, says a New York dentist who spent a year researching Ruth's death.

Dr. William Maloney says Ruth died of a rare form of cancer, nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The nasopharynx is a small area inside the head, above the soft palate and leading to the sinus.

"They got it all wrong," Maloney, 41, of Scarsdale, N.Y., said of Ruth's biographers. "They all said he had throat cancer — an easy conclusion, because he was well-known for drinking, smoking and using tobacco. In fact, he died of a very rare cancer."

Ruth was a medical pioneer, the first person to try a new chemotherapy drug, teropetrin. It worked well for him for a short time, and laid the groundwork for more successful treatments.

Maloney gained renewed respect for the Babe.

"I used to see him as a giant on the field; now I see him as a giant off the field," he said.

Baltimore: OF Adam Jones went on the 15-day DL with a broken left foot after fouling a pitch off it Saturday night at Safeco Field. Jones, acquired from the Mariners in an offseason trade for LHP Erik Bedard, is hitting .326 in his last 31 games and has raised his batting average from .245 to .279 since June 1.

Boston: 2B Dustin Pedroia extended his road hitting streak to 26 games, the most by a Red Sox player since 1913, when Hall of Famer Tris Speaker hit in 29 straight.

Kansas City: C Miguel Olivo and RHP Zack Greinke were suspended for five games for their part in a brawl with the White Sox on Sunday. Manager Trey Hillman got a one-game suspension, and Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen was suspended for two games. All four penalties also included fines. Olivo and Greinke appealed.

New York: RHP Joba Chamberlain will be examined by orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews today after undergoing an MRI on his ailing right shoulder Tuesday.

Texas: Rangers closer C.J. Wilson, who gave up an eighth-inning grand slam to the Yankees' Richie Sexson, was placed on the 15-day DL with bone spurs in his left elbow. Manager Ron Washington said Eddie Guardado will take over as closer.

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