Jun 03

Hall of Fame baseball player Rod Carew recovering after heart and kidney operations

iStock/Thinkstock(ANAHEIM, Calif.) — Baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew was in attendance at the Los Angeles Angels–Minnesota Twins Thursday night matchup at Angel Stadium.

The 71-year-old was sitting in a booth behind home plate for the game, appearing just five months after undergoing a heart and kidney transplant. He spoke to reporters about his recovery, conceding it has been “tough journey,” but feels blessed to continue working and watching baseball.

The baseball Hall of Famer received a new heart and kidney this past December from late NFL tight end Konrad Reuland, an operation that saved Carew’s life following the tragic end for the former football player.

Reuland met Carew when he was 11-years-old, and served as one of his athletic heroes as he pursued a professional career in sports. Reuland spent three years in the NFL, then died in December after suffering a brain aneurysm. He was 29.

As it turned out, Carew needed a heart transplant, and Reuland’s heart and kidney were given to him by chance. Now Carew is active again. He currently serves a special assistant for the Twins.

He says he has a new responsibility as well: supporting the American Heart Association. He and his wife launched The Heart of 29 campaign, raising money for the American Heart Association and increasing awareness and prevention of heart disease.

Copyright © 2017, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.