Museum Hosts ALS Awareness Weekend Oct. 14-15

Boston College Baseball Team to Visit Cooperstown with Members of Pete Frates’ Family; Museum programming to connect Hall of Famers Lou Gehrig and Catfish Hunter, and new Pete Frates book, ‘The Ice Bucket Challenge’

(COOPERSTOWN, NY) – For more than 70 years, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and baseball have been connected through the dignity and grace of Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig.

And as the search for a cure continues, the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will host ALS Awareness Weekend Oct. 14-15 in Cooperstown.

Known as Lou Gehrig’s disease following the diagnosis of the Yankees star first baseman seven decades ago, ALS continues to afflict about 30,000 people in the United States. Hall of Fame pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter also suffered from the disease, and more recently Boston College outfielder and captain Pete Frates became the face of ALS after being diagnosed in 2012.

“The ALS Awareness weekend of Oct. 14-15, 2017 at the National Baseball Hall of Fame promises to be one of the penultimate moments on our journey to complete Pete’s mission of Striking Out ALS,” said the Frates Family. “The unique collaboration for goodness that is so meaningful to our family, baseball, the Hall of Fame, Boston College and ALS Awareness in the historic town of Cooperstown, N.Y., is the highest honor for Pete, our family and the ALS Community. This exciting weekend promises to be one of reflection, activity, camaraderie and celebration. We are truly humbled and honored.”

Frates helped create the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, which has raised more than $220 million worldwide for ALS research. In June, Frates donated the bucket and sunglasses he used for the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014 at Fenway Park to the Hall of Fame, along with his glove and cap from his playing days with the Eagles. They are all currently on display in the Museum’s Today’s Game exhibit. The Frates Family will also donate a ball signed by Pete Frates to the Hall of Fame during ALS Awareness Weekend.

Pete Frates makes a diving catch while playing for Boston College’s baseball team on April 26, 2006. The glove he used is now preserved at the Hall of Fame. (Matthew J. Lee / Boston Globe)

“Lou Gehrig’s courageous battle with ALS turned this insidious disease into a cause close to baseball’s heart,” said Jeff Idelson, President of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. “In Cooperstown, we tell the story of the ALS connection to baseball with artifacts from Gehrig and Catfish Hunter – our two Hall of Famers who succumbed to this illness – as well as Pete Frates, a former college ballplayer who has become the inspiration for the renewed battle against the disease.”

The 2017-18 Boston College varsity team will visit Cooperstown during ALS Awareness Weekend and play two intra-squad scrimmages at historic Doubleday Field, which will be open to the public.

“It is a huge honor for the baseball program to be a part of this weekend for two reasons,” said Boston College head baseball coach Mike Gambino. “The first is any time we can stand with Pete and the Frates family to help in the mission to strike out ALS, we are humbled and honored to do so. Pete's mission is our mission and we will do whatever is necessary to wipe out this disease. Second, as baseball players and life-long fans of the game, we are so excited to visit Cooperstown and the Baseball Hall of Fame and to play on the hallowed grounds of Doubleday Field. It is what every kid dreams about. We want to thank the Baseball Hall of Fame for making this weekend possible for our boys and Team Fratetrain.”

During a press conference held on June 10, 2017 at Fenway Park, former Boston College baseball player and ALS activist Pete Frates (center) donated artifacts to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Jon Shestakofsky (far right), the Hall of Fame’s vice president of communications and education, was on hand to accept the donation. (Photo by Matthew Thomas / Boston Red Sox)

ALS Awareness Weekend will also feature several Museum programs, including:

Saturday, Oct. 14

11:30 a.m. – ALS Awareness Museum Program / Book Event, featuring the Frates Family and author Casey Sherman, who will discuss the book he co-authored with David Wedge: “The Ice Bucket Challenge: Pete Frates and the Fight against ALS”, Plaque Gallery

12:30 p.m. – Book signing featuring author Casey Sherman and Frates Family members for “The Ice Bucket Challenge: Pete Frates and the Fight against ALS”, Library Atrium

1 p.m. – ALS Artifact Spotlight, Bullpen Theater

2 p.m. – ALS and Baseball Museum Tour, with specific artifacts highlighted by Museum staff, Museum

3 p.m. – Intra-squad scrimmage with the Boston College varsity baseball team, Doubleday Field

Sunday, Oct. 15

11 a.m. – ALS and Baseball Plaque Tour featuring Lou Gehrig and Catfish Hunter, Plaque Gallery

1 p.m. – Intra-squad scrimmage with the Boston College varsity baseball team, Doubleday Field

1:30 p.m. – ALS and Baseball Museum Tour, with specific artifacts highlighted by Museum staff, Museum

2:30 p.m. – Screening of the movie “The Pride of the Yankees”, Bullpen Theater

All events at the Hall of Fame are included with Museum admission. There is no admission charge for the Boston College scrimmages at Doubleday Field.

“The Ice Bucket Challenge: Pete Frates and the Fight against ALS”, written by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge, published this month, tells the inspirational story behind the Ice Bucket Challenge, the viral craze that swept the nation in summer 2014.

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