Oakland Athletics' Outfielder Stephen Piscotty's Mother Dies at 55 After Battle with ALS
Gretchen Piscotty, mother of Oakland Athletics’ outfielder Stephen Piscotty, died on Sunday at the age of 55.
The baseball team confirmed Gretchen’s death on Monday, sharing in a statement that the 55-year-old had died “after a battle with ALS.”
“The Athletics organization extends its deepest condolences to the Piscotty family on the loss of Gretchen,” said Billy Beane, executive vice president of baseball operations, in a statement shared by the team. “She was a devoted wife and mother, whose legacy will live on through her husband, Mike, and their sons Stephen, Austin and Nick.”
Gretchen was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an incurable neurodegenerative disease that’s also known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease, in May 2017.
After years of playing with the St. Louis Cardinals, Stephen, 27, was traded to the Oakland A’s in December 2017, a move which would allow him to be closer to his mom, who lived nearby in Pleasanton, California.
“Sometimes there are things more important than baseball,” the player told the San Francisco Chronicle at the time. “This opportunity here is a great combination of family and baseball. I think it’s really the best thing for myself and my family. A lot of good is going to come out of it.”
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“ALS is brutal and it’s relentless. The doctor that we’ve been working closely with hasn’t seen a case move this fast in all his years,” Stephen told ESPN in May, adding that he felt “so grateful” to be home in California because he couldn’t “imagine being 2,000 miles away from what’s going on.”
“We usually end the day playing the guitar with ‘Amazing Grace,’ ” he added, explaining that his mother often played the song for him when he was a child.
Continuing, he said, “It’s important to spend time with her because we’re running out of it. I’m just trying to cherish every moment of it.”
Opening up to the Chronicle in January, Gretchen said she felt “grateful” her family was able to be by her side as she battled ALS.
“With or without the illness, I’m very grateful they’re all close by,” Gretchen told the outlet. “I wish this wasn’t impacting them, impacting the family, but I’m very grateful to see them. They’re all very tender and caring and gentle with me.”
According to USA Today, before Stephen left for spring training this year, his mother used a ventilator to help her with her breathing.
The Oakland Athletics also announced that well-wishers can make memorial contributions to the ALS Therapy Development Institute and that they will match up to $50.000.