Pete Frates was former captain of the Boston College baseball team and professional baseball player in Europe before being diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in March of 2012, at the age of 27.He grew up in Beverly, MA and attended St. John’s Preparatory School ’03 and Boston College ’07. At SJP he was a four-year member of the football, hockey and baseball teams, a school leader and honor roll student. He was also named a Catholic Conference All-Star his senior year and was a member of the 2002 and 2003 conference championship teams.
At Boston College he majored in communications and history, lived on campus and was a baseball student-athlete from 2004-2007. In Frates’ junior year he went 4-for-4 with a home run, a double and three RBIs in the Eagles 10-2 win over Harvard in the Beanpot Championship at Fenway Park. In his senior year, he also tied the record for sacrifice hits with eight and led the Eagles with nineteen stolen bases. The centerfielder also set a modern BC record with eight RBIs in one game, going 4-for-6 with a grand slam, a three-run homer and a RBI double at Maryland on April 14, 2007. In both his junior and senior years, he tied the team record hitting five homeruns, finishing his career with 11 total.
After college, Frates went to Hamburg, Germany to play baseball in the German Baseball League while coaching German youth on the sport as well.
It wasn’t until August of 2011 that Frates would begin his journey with ALS. He was hit in the wrist while up at bat during one his ICL games and had to go to the hospital. After months of testing, he was officially diagnosed with ALS in March of 2012. After his diagnosis, Frates rejoined the Boston College baseball team as the director of baseball operations during the 2012 season and decided to take on the disease with an amazing positive attitude, and determined, inspiring spirit. Along with the support of his family and friends, Pete has dedicated his life to raising funds for ALS education, awareness and research.
He and his family established the Pete Frates #3 Fund to help subsidize medical care and expenses not covered by health insurance and in the summer of 2014. Frates also helped champion the fundraising campaign, turned viral sensation, the “Ice Buck Challenge” through the use of social media in summer of 2014 as well. The challenge not only brought a huge amount of awareness to the cause, but also raised an estimated $200 million in funds geared towards finding a cure.
Frates was awarded Sport Illustrated’s Inspiration of the Year in December 2014 and the Sport Center documentary detailing his journey was nominated for an Emmy.
Today, Frates is still a champion for the cause and currently resides in hometown, Beverley, Massachesettes, with his wife, Julie and daughter, Lucy.
The Notre Dame Connection
Eighth-year Irish head baseball coach, Mik Aoki, was an assistant coach at Boston College from 2004-2006 before leading the program from 2007-2010. Pete and Mik began at BC together and Pete was Mik’s first captain as head coach of the Eagles.
About the Game
This year marks the sixth-consecutive season the Irish have hosted an ALS game with funds garnered from winning online auction bids for exclusive ND Baseball ALS jerseys and donations collected at the game for t-shirts and hat, going directly to the Pete Frates #3 Fund.
What is ALS
ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. “A” means no. “Myo” refers to muscle, and “Trophic” means nourishment – “No muscle nourishment.” When a muscle has no nourishment, it “atrophies” or wastes away. “Lateral” identifies the areas in a person’s spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates, it leads to scarring or hardening (“sclerosis”) in the region.
Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their demise. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, people may lose the ability to speak, eat, move and breathe. The motor nerves that are affected when you have ALS are the motor neurons that provide voluntary movements and muscle control. Examples of voluntary movements are making the effort to reach for a smart phone or step off a curb. These actions are controlled by the muscles in the arms and legs.
There are two different types of ALS, sporadic and familial. Sporadic, which is the most common form of the disease in the U.S., accounts for 90 to 95 percent of all cases. It may affect anyone, anywhere. Familial ALS (FALS) accounts for 5 to 10 percent of all cases in the U.S. Familial ALS means the disease is inherited. In those families, there is a 50% chance each offspring will inherit the gene mutation and may develop the disease. French neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot discovered the disease in 1869.
ALS usually strikes people between the ages of 40 and 70, and it is estimated there are more than 20,000 Americans who have the disease at any given time (although this number fluctuates). For unknown reasons, military veterans are approximately twice as likely to be diagnosed with the disease as the general public. Notable individuals who have been diagnosed with ALS include baseball great Lou Gehrig, theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author Stephen Hawking, Hall of Fame pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter, Toto bassist Mike Porcaro, Senator Jacob Javits, actor David Niven, “Sesame Street” creator Jon Stone, boxing champion Ezzard Charles, NBA Hall of Fame basketball player George Yardley, golf caddie Bruce Edwards, musician Lead Belly (Huddie Ledbetter), photographer Eddie Adams, entertainer Dennis Day, jazz musician Charles Mingus, former vice president of the United States Henry A. Wallace, U.S. Army General Maxwell Taylor, and NFL football players Steve Gleason, O.J. Brigance and Tim Shaw.
Find out more information about ALS by visiting here.
Pete Frates FUNd RUN
Saturday, April 28th
Race Starts at 9:00 a.m.
*MUST REGISTER BY APRIL 11TH
Public Pre Registration
2 Mile Walk | $15
5K Timed Run | $25
10K Timed Run | $30
ND Student Pre Registration
2 Mile Walk | $10
5K Timed Run | $15
10K Timed Run | $20
Public Day-Of Registration
2 Mile Walk | $20
5K Timed Run | $30
10K Timed Run | $35
ND Student Day-Of Registration
2 Mile Walk | $15
5K Timed Run | $20
10K Timed Run | $25
Interested in being a race sponsor? Contact Jasmine Cannady at (574) 631-3589 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To donate directly to the Pete Frates #3 Fund click here
Or you can make your check payable to the Pete Frates #3 Fund and mail to the address below:
University of Notre Dame
ATTN: Kelli Zeese
202 Joyce Center Drive
Notre Dame, IN 46556