Amazing. Incredible. Unbelievable.
Pick your adjective. It still likely won’t be enough to describe what Danny Farquhar has done.
The White Sox pitcher was back on the pitcher’s mound at Guaranteed Rate Field on Friday, exactly six weeks after he was carried out of the home dugout after suffering a brain hemorrhage.
There was a real possibility he’d never be back here, a real possibility he’d never be back anywhere. But instead, he was discharged from RUSH University Hospital 17 days later with a message from doctors that he’d be cleared to pitch again, even if he wouldn’t be cleared to do so this season.
He did get clearance, though, for Friday’s ceremonial first pitch, the first time he’s thrown a baseball since April 20, the first time he’s even put on a hat. And alongside him stood the members of his various teams: his wife and his three children, the doctors and staff that treated him, and his White Sox teammates, all lined up behind him as he threw to his “buddy” Nate Jones.
“I prepared myself for today,” Farquhar said. “The thing that caught me off guard was the whole team coming out to the mound. I thought that was an incredibly special moment. Whoever’s decision that was — I’m sure it was James Shields. He’s an incredible leader that we have. But that really caught me off guard, and that was probably the most special moment of the night to me.”
Farquhar’s story has gained national attention and rightfully so for the way in which he’s recovered. Friday morning saw interviews air on both “The Today Show” and “Good Morning America.” And Farquhar elaborated on the love he’s received from the entire baseball fraternity, including fellow players he’s never even met.
“I have gotten lots of text messages and gifts from guys I’ve never even played with before and teams I have no idea who is on the team,” he said. “It’s been very special to have baseball back me as much as they have. It’s a thing that me and my wife talked about, and we said we would do the same thing, but it’s just really special to have it happen to you.”
Farquhar’s teammates have spent the last several weeks grinning from ear to ear whenever his name’s been brought up, a reflection of their feelings about the guy they’ve called a fighter, a hard worker and a walking miracle.
It’s probably close to impossible to say anyone foresaw this kind of rapid recovery. But if there was going to be this kind of rapid recovery, the White Sox aren’t surprised it was a guy like Farquhar who made it happen.
“As you can tell, he’s a fighter,” Jones said. “He’s worked hard to get where he’s at, and he doesn’t want to lose that. And I think that’s really helped him out in this process, for sure. … That first night, you start looking it up to see what happened, what it is, what a brain aneurysm is, all the numbers and odds that were against him. So it was pretty cool to see he beat all that.”
“I’ve known Danny for a long time,” his wife, Lexie, said. “And every time someone has said no he can’t, he’s always said, ‘Yes I can.’ So from the moment they told me every issue that was going on, I was like, ‘It might be a rough road, but it’s one that’s going to end with him doing what he loves and him doing it his way.’ Because he always has.”
Farquhar’s recovery has been a feel-good story and an inspiration for pretty much everyone who’s heard about it. It makes you think about how fragile life is and how things can change in an instant. Obviously, that’s the effect it’s had on Farquhar, too, who said he’s gained a new perspective during this unbelievable ordeal.
“When you wake up in the hospital and you’ve got like 20-something staples in your head and a drain coming out the other side and you have no memories, it puts life in perspective of how quickly it can change,” Farquhar said. “When you’re at a baseball game, you’re 31 years old you think everything’s going to be just fine, and it could’ve turned so quickly.
“You really learn to appreciate your wife and kids so much more. Obviously all the prayers that everybody had had to help, and it just puts life in a perspective. One day we’re all going to go, but you’d like to not be as young as I am with three kids, one who’s six months old, and two older ones. So you look at everybody differently.”