When Stephen Piscotty's mother was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease last year, the St. Louis Cardinals accommodated a request to move him closer to his family by trading the young outfield to his hometown team, the Oakland Athletics.
Gretchen Piscotty, 55, died from the effects of the disease Sunday, shortly after ESPN aired its moving documentary on her family and the transaction that brought her son home for her final days.
“From the moment we drafted and signed Stephen, he and his family became a part of the Cardinal family,” Cardinals President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak said through a statement Monday. “We were saddened to hear of the passing of Gretchen and want to let Stephen and his family know that we pass on our heartfelt condolences.”
Known clinically as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis sclerosis, or ALS is a rare neurological disease that affects the nerve cells responsible for controlling voluntary muscle movement. It's known as a particularly cruel disease since the mind remains aware even as the body deteriorates progressively.
It's always fatal and there is no cure.
Gretchen Piscotty was diagnosed in May 2017 and the disease advanced aggressively, according to the short ESPN film.
Piscotty, a supplemental first-round pick by the Cardinals in 2012, signed a $33.5-million extension prior to the 2017 season. But he struggled last season, batting .235 with nine homers. Both numbers were significantly down from 2016, when he hit .273 with 22 home runs and 35 doubles.
The Cardinals arranged the trade, however, to send him back to the Bay Area, where he was raised as an A's fan. The graduate of nearby Stanford University, where he earned a degree in atmosphere and energy engineering, is currently batting .243 with two home runs and 13 RBIs.