It would have been perfectly fine if Oakland Athletics right fielder Stephen Piscotty had sat out Tuesday night’s game in Boston against the Red Sox. Returning to the team after missing four games while on the bereavement list following the death of his mother, Gretchen, Piscotty had taken an early-morning flight from California — he was dropped off at the airport at 3:45 a.m. — and still was on West Coast time.
But Piscotty insisted on playing and, in his first at-bat, he did this:
Rounding the bases after his blast over the Green Monster, Piscotty touched his hand to his chest, which he said was his mother’s way of saying “I love you and thank you” in the final days of her one-year battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Gretchen Piscotty, 55, died May 6.
“It’s been an emotional week,” Piscotty told MLB.com. “I’ve been a little cried out, so I didn’t tear up or anything. It felt real good knowing my family was watching, I know my mom was watching. Coming around third, just immediately started thinking of my mom. I put my hand over my chest like she would do, and that’s kind of going to be my thing going forward.”
Said Manager Bob Melvin: “To hit a home run in his first at-bat like that, there’s something in the air. Probably Gretchen. It was like a walkoff. The guys just embraced him when he got in the dugout.”
After Gretchen Piscotty learned of her ALS diagnosis in May 2017, the Cardinals traded her son to Oakland this offseason in part so he could be closer to his family’s home in the East Bay suburb of Pleasanton. The A’s are matching up to $50,000 in donations made in Gretchen’s name to the ALS Therapy Development Institute. (You can donate here.)