Joey Wegner is a two-time cancer survivor who finally got to live out his dream on the baseball diamond — one of the few bright spots over the last year, though the challenges of enduring the pandemic and losing a close friend haven’t shaken his sprits.
The Normal Community graduate gave up playing baseball six years ago after he was diagnosed with a 10-pound tumor in his stomach. But he never gave up hope of playing again as Wegner explained in this edition of Beyond Sports.
This past year, he had to give up coaching the Bloomington Bobcats baseball team for a while as the pandemic temporarily shut down the Kernels Collegiate League season.
Then this spring, Wegner dealt with the unexpected death of his mentor and boss, Bobcats general manager Mike Brown.
“He challenged me. He had this tough love and I can tell he cared because he was hard on me, but he still told me he loved me all the time,” Wegner recalled of Brown. Except for his parents, Wegner said no one visited him in the hospital during his cancer treatments more than Brown.
Wegner said he’s in good health now: cancer-free, fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and feeling good enough to get one last chance to swing the bat.
As a tribute to his beloved coach, friend, mentor and caretaker, the speakers blared the Frank Sinatra classic, “New York, New York” when Wegner walked to the plate amid cheering fans for what would be his only collegiate game appearance as a senior for Central College in Pella, Iowa, on May 16.