The third annual Lou Gehrig Day was celebrated throughout Major League Baseball in June to honor the legacy of Gehrig and all those lost to the disease that bears his name, to raise ALS awareness and funding, and to celebrate the ALS community.
On Friday, June 2, 2023, the San Francisco Giants hosted their Lou Gehrig Day, sponsored by our community partner, Cytokinetics. Before the game, over 250 people – including those living with ALS, their families, and representatives from the Golden West Chapter, ALS TDI, Muscular Dystrophy Association, I AM ALS, Live Like Lou Foundation, and the Permobil Foundation – had the opportunity to connect at Triples Alley. We are so grateful to the Giants and their staff for their thoughtful time and efforts in arranging this special time and place for all of us.
After the pre-gathering, the Giants held a special home plate ceremony, which included a presentation of the 2023 Lou Gehrig Award. The Lou Gehrig Award is given annually to a Major League Baseball player who best exhibits the character and integrity of Lou Gehrig on and off the field. The award was created by the Phi Delta Theta fraternity in honor of Gehrig, who was a member while at Columbia University.
This year’s award recipient was Giants’ beloved shortstop Brandon Crawford, who is a three-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner, and two-time World Series champion. Brandon and his family have been great supporters of our ALS community and Golden West for many years. His commitment to helping others was exemplified through a special wheelchair presentation to Osiel Mendoza, who has been living with ALS since 2016, courtesy of the Live Like Lou Foundation and Permobil Foundation.
Throughout the game, Chris Mavraedis, author of “Falling in Love with Baseball,” hosted a book signing with forever Giant Jeffrey “HacMan” Leonard at the Community Clubhouse. Over 50 books were sold, which raised $2500 in support of Golden West programs. Chris has been living with ALS since 2009 and was honored in 2017 with our Essey “Spotlight Award.” Thank you to Chris, his wife Liz, and their many friends for their dedication to our mission and ALS community.
The Giants observed a moment of silence for all of those lost to ALS. This moving visual tribute to many individuals included Nic Bonotto, Dan Carrozzini, Matt Chaney, and Nancy Sallaberry from the Golden West Chapter. Then, two people living with ALS, Arlet Veurink, representing I AM ALS, and Corey Reich, representing ALS TDI, were recognized as Honorary Captains for the game, sponsored by StubHub. Then, Golden West’s Suzie Bonotto, surviving spouse of Nic Bonotto, and their three children, Mason, Evie, and Ellie, threw out the Honorary First Toss to Brandon Crawford. The Home Plate ceremony ended with the Honorary “Play Ball” announcement being delivered by forever Giant Jim Poole. Jim pitched for both the Giants and Baltimore Orioles throughout his 11-year MLB career and has been living with ALS since 2021.
Finally, there was a special shout out to our community partner, Cytokinetics, for sponsoring Lou Gehrig Day. We appreciate all of the employees of Cytokinetics who came to help raise ALS awareness and support, and for all they do throughout the year in support of Golden West.
Our deepest gratitude to the San Francisco Giants for honoring, remembering, and celebrating our ALS community on such a special day, and a very special thanks to Director of Community Relations, Tess Oliphant.
See more of our pictures here! If you were in the ballpark that day and you have any photos to share, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also post them on your social media channels with our tag “@alsagoldenwest” and hashtag #LouGehrigDay.