Today is Lou Gehrig Day in Major League Baseball. The league established the idea this past spring, and June 2, 2021, is the inaugural edition.
One feature of this day of remembrance is the announcement of the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award, which is not new and has been around since 1955. This year’s recipient is Oakland A’s outfielder Stephen Piscotty.
The award is presented by the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, of which Gehrig was a member in college, and it’s purpose is to recognize the MLB player who “best exemplifies the giving character of [Gehrig],” per the A’s press release. This is the 67th year the award has been given out, but the first time it’s ever gone to an A’s player.
The selection of Piscotty is especially notable because it comes in connection to his work with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), which is commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease because it took the Hall of Famer’s life at age 37. Piscotty lost his mother to ALS in 2018, and has put enormous effort into raising awareness on the subject. The 2002 award went to pitcher Mike Timlin, who also lost his mother to the disease.
Stephen Piscotty bravely shares how difficult it is to watch a family member suffer through ALS, and advice on what the public can do to help end this terrible disease.— Cut4 (@Cut4) June 2, 2021
Watch his full conversation here: https://t.co/NQMAcChtGe pic.twitter.com/sFXTQaj67a
Piscotty’s contributions include his role in creating the ALS CURE Project, and his father Mike Piscotty was part of the group that advocated for the creation of Lou Gehrig Day, per insider Martin Gallegos.
Today’s Community Spotlight is Stephen Piscotty's dad, Mike!— Oakland A's (@Athletics) June 2, 2021
Tune into the A’s radio pregame show to hear Mike talk about the inaugural Lou Gehrig Day, ALS CURE Project's work to help fund and execute ALS research, and the #ALSChatter campaign. pic.twitter.com/HUHcfhRlWN
Congrats to Piscotty and his family for this well-earned honor, and Athletics Nation thanks them for their tireless efforts toward a good cause. The award will be presented on June 8 during a pregame ceremony at the Coliseum, coinciding with the team holding an ALS Awareness Day.
Across baseball today, you're going to see ceremonies honoring those affected by ALS: patients, families, caregivers, friends.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 2, 2021
This is why Bryan Wayne Galentine wanted to start an annual Lou Gehrig Day in MLB. So his story -- and so many others' -- would live on and resonate. pic.twitter.com/Y1I0gSWbjV