In May of 2017, Gretchen Piscotty was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, more commonly known as ALS. Her son, Stephen, just 26 years old at the time, was the right fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals. Piscotty had grown up in Pleasanton, California, where his mother still lived. Just a 30 minute drive from Oakland, Piscotty grew up as a fan of the Swinging Oakland A’s. He’d watch games and keep score, even when watching from his own home. Just 7 months later, Piscotty was traded to the Athletics in exchange for two minor leaguers. A realistic trade, the A’s desperately needed a right fielder, but looking at the non-baseball side of the story, the trade was about much, much more.
On December 14th, 2017, Stephen Piscotty was traded from the Cardinals to the Athletics. This was special for multiple reasons. One, Piscotty had grown up a huge A’s fan, and two, most importantly, it allowed him to be closer to his ailing mother. In 2018, he hit .267, swatting 27 homers and driving in 88 runs. It was a great campaign for Piscotty. He thrust himself into a good spot, at the final checkpoint of a successful rebuild, and he had earned a place in Oakland. It was an important time in his career for multiple reasons, and he handled it all like a true professional, with class and poise. On May 6th, 2018, Piscotty lost his mother. She died at her home in Pleasanton, leaving Stephen distraught and heartbroken. He was placed on the bereavement list and spent the next 5 days with his family. His return was nothing short of incredible.
On May 15th, just one week after losing his mother at the young age of 55, Piscotty rejoined the Athletics as they traveled to Boston to face the Red Sox. In the second inning, in his first at-bat back with the team, Piscotty launched an 0-2 fastball from Eduardo Rodriguez over the green monster in left. It was almost too perfect, a truly special moment, one that makes you think there is a baseball god, or maybe angels in the outfield. It was an emotional scene at Fenway. Piscotty, holding back tears from first to home, was embraced by the dugout upon touching the plate. “Coming around third, I really started to think about my mom,” he said. “I kind of put my hand over my chest like she would do. It’s going to be my thing going forward. I was just thinking of her coming around third”, Piscotty said following the game.
This Athletics team is full of underdogs and feel good stories, Stephen Piscotty falls under both of those categories. He has sneaky pop, and can get on base with the best of ’em. Steamer has him hitting .267 with 21 homers and 73 RBIs, which would be a pretty good season for a guy that gets little to no attention from nationwide media. I’ll be rooting hard for the Athletics to do well this season, and I’ll be keeping a close eye on the still fairly new right fielder in town.
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