Francona bets Lucchino he can quit tobacco habit

3/1/2007 - MLB Boston Red Sox

Chew on this: Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona has bet team president and CEO Larry Lucchino a $20,000 donation to Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute that he can quit using tobacco this season.

Call it smokeless, chaw, spit tobacco or chewing tobacco, Francona is trying to quit his addiction to raise awareness of its serious health risks. If he's able to break the habit all season, Lucchino, who has twice battled cancer, will donate $20,000. Should Francona falter, he'll give $20,000.

Francona's wager is inspiring the Red Sox to initiate a "Spit Tobacco Abstinence & Recovery War," an effort to encourage others using tobacco to stop as well.

"It's a hard habit to break, but I have the will do it," Francona said in a team-issued press release. "And I know that in breaking this habit and vanquishing this addiction, I can show thousands of people who never should have started that they can stop, and they can stop right now.

"To have the support of Larry Lucchino and the whole Red Sox organization infuses me with strength and resolve that are greater than mine alone. I appreciate this effort, and I know how much it means to so many."

The Jimmy Fund, which benefits the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, has long been the team's official charity.