Gretchen Piscotty, the mother of Oakland Athletics outfielder Stephen Piscotty, died on Sunday of ALS. She was 55 years old.
Gretchen was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, just a year ago in May of 2017. After Piscotty found out, the Cardinals gave him a leave of absence so he could fly to his hometown of Pleasanton, California and regroup with his father, Mike, and his younger brothers Nick and Austin. Piscotty moved back into the family home over the offseason to help care for her, and he told the San Francisco Chronicle that he enjoyed ferrying his mother and her friends around town in an RV equipped with special lift that accommodated Gretchen’s wheelchair.
In December, Piscotty was traded from the St. Louis Cardinals to the Athletics. The Cardinals had intended to trade him, but dealt him to the Athletics so he could be closer to his mother, since Pleasanton is just 25 miles from Oakland. By January, the disease had progressed much faster than anyone had anticipated. The Chronicle reported that Gretchen had lost a lot of her mobility and had difficulty speaking.
Piscotty understood that he didn’t have a lot of time left with his mother, and told ESPN that he was trying to share as many moments with her as possible.
“We usually end [the day] playing the guitar with ‘Amazing Grace,'” Stephen Piscotty told ESPN about taking care of his mother. It was a song she used to play for him on a music box as a child. “It’s definitely emotional. Playing it is kind of a full-circle aspect going on there. It gives me some little bit of peace, and I hope it does the same for her.
“It’s important to spend time with her because we’re running out of it, and we’re just trying to cherish every moment.”
Cardinals GM John Mozeliak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in December that he took Piscotty’s situation with his ailing mother into consideration when deciding among trade offers, which is why he ended up close to home with the Athletics. And because of that, Piscotty was able to spend more time with his mother before she died.
Piscotty and the Oakland A’s Community Fund has set up a YouCaring fund in Gretchen’s memory. The donations will go toward ALS research and the A’s will match up to $50,000.
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