Athletics outfielder Stephen Piscotty was named the recipient of the annual Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. The award is given out each year to an MLB player who “best exemplifies the giving character of Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig.”
MLB just held the inaugural “Lou Gehrig Day,” which was celebrated on Wednesday to honor the Hall of Fame first baseman who died of ALS in June of 1941.
“It’s really a special day that I’ve been looking forward to for some time,” Piscotty said Wednesday on MLB Network’s "MLB Tonight." “Tremendous opportunity to celebrate the man Lou Gehrig was, what he stood for, the role model he is still for kids. Feel really grateful to share in this moment with him, to raise more awareness for ALS and just really excited for today.”
Piscotty has been an advocate for ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) since his mother, Gretchen was diagnosed. She died of the disease on May 6, 2018. Piscotty and his dad Mike since then have made it a mission to find a cure, but they have a ways to go.
“We’re not far enough along, plain and simple,” Piscotty said.
There are numerous ways to donate to find a cure here, and the first annual ALS Charity Cure Project Golf Tournament will take place on June 7 at the Orinda Country Club.
“I’m incredibly humbled to be the recipient of that award, looking forward to June 8 and receiving that award in front of the Oakland fans,” Piscotty said. “The Oakland community has been incredible, the organization has been incredible throughout this entire journey my family has been on and so that’ll make it even more special. Just incredibly grateful and thankful.”
Piscotty said he has been approached numerous times by those curious about ALS and how they can help.
“Some of the conversations I had with teammates early on when my mom was diagnosed and news had kind of gotten out, were helpful for me to relieve some of that stress to talk about it and I think that happens for others who are going through this currently,” he said. “I’m trying to put myself out there as much as I can to be a sounding board and share things my mom went through and I feel like that’s my mission.”
Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente are the only players MLB has dedicated days to.
Piscotty officially will receive his award June 8 at the Oakland Coliseum during the A's ALS Awareness Day.