An Orioles player who missed the entire 2020 season with colon cancer took over baseball's RBI lead
- Trey Mancini missed the entire 2020 season to get treatment for colon cancer.
- Mancini returned this year and is not only his team's best hitter but one of the best in MLB.
- Mancini took over the MLB lead in RBI on Wednesday night.
Trey Mancini is cementing himself as one of sports' best comeback stories this year.
The Baltimore Orioles first baseman missed the entire 2020 season to receive treatment for his colon cancer. He was diagnosed last April at just 28 years old after undergoing surgery to remove a tumor.
But on Wednesday, Mancini recorded his 42nd RBI of the 2021 season for the Orioles in a 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Twins. The RBI put Mancini in the MLB lead before Rafael Devers of the Boston Red Sox reached 43 later that night.
But the few hours in which Mancini held baseball's RBI peaked a highly improbable comeback, which Mancini still has several months left to keep writing.
For Mancini, his shocking performance this season is not just about making up for his own lost time on the baseball field. It's also about repaying a debt of gratitude to his team, which he credited for helping him discover his cancer before it got worse.
Mancini wrote an essay in The Player's Tribune shortly after his diagnosis last year and revealed that the first indication of his cancer showed up in a blood test that all Orioles players perform annually. When irregularities in the results came back, team doctors encouraged him to do a second test, in which they discovered dangerously low iron levels.
The results led Mancini to undergo further evaluations, ultimately leading to the surgery and his eventual diagnosis.
"Without the Orioles, I never would have caught this before it may have been too late. There was really no indication that anything was wrong other than me just feeling a little more tired than normal," Mancini wrote. "Everything that comes up when you google colon cancer? I didn't have any of it. And so without that second blood test, I probably would not have discovered the tumor until I had a total blockage of my colon."
Mancini's father, Tony, was also a colon cancer survivor, but he was diagnosed at 58. As a 28-year-old, Mancini was part of just 12% of people who are diagnosed with the disease under the age of 50, according to Moffit Cancer Center.
Then when his teammates and every other MLB player were working toward getting ready for the abbreviated 2020 season, Mancini went through regular chemotherapy sessions in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It was very difficult," Mancini told Ree Hines of USA Today. "You know, nobody was able to go to my treatments with me throughout the entire thing. My girlfriend Sarah and I were in Washington, D.C., and I was getting treated at Hopkins. She wasn't even allowed to come in with me, so that was a really tough part of it. But she took plenty enough care of me at home."
But after finishing his chemotherapy last November, Mancini was declared cancer-free and cleared to return to the Orioles.
Mancini's efforts as one of baseball's best hitters have only done so much for his team, as Baltimore currently sits in last place in the AL East with a 17-32 record.
But Mancini is still on pace for a possible career year at 29 years of age with 113 games left and expects to have plenty of opportunities to help the team improve in the future.
"Honestly, I love the Orioles," Mancini said. "Our team trainers have been so on top of everything. I am so appreciative for them and also for the Orioles' front office and ownership. They have treated me like family."
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