Oct. 22 Selig, Frates family pregame interview

Oct. 22 Selig, Frates family pregame interview

COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG:  Good afternoon, everybody. This year mark the 75th anniversary of Lou Gehrig's remarkable, "Luckiest man" speech on July 4th at Yankee Stadium. Words that live on today to a lot of people. Lou Gehrig was the legendary captain of the New York Yankees. In recent years a young man named Pete Frates was the captain of the Boston College baseball team. Today Pete continues to fight ALS with unbelievable courage.

We all know the Ice Bucket Challenge that swept the nation this summer. As a result, it's estimated that the phenomenon generated more than $100 million. I think it's even more than that, I think you told me it's $140 million for ALS organizations and research.

Pete invited our office to participate, and Rob Manfred gladly obliged (laughter). You'll note with some interest that I did not(laughter).

He also helped spread the message to the Red Sox and other parts of the baseball community. Many of our clubs and players participate in our office at Major League Baseball, while countless others around the world also did the challenge.

More than 165 employees of my office took part in August, and then hundreds more from all across Major League Baseball family followed suit. It has been a creative, galvanizing effort, and we're grateful for its impact on the ALS community.

The great Jackie Robinson once said, "A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives." A member of the baseball family, Pete Frates is making an enormous impact on countless lives. Today we dedicate Game 2 of the 2014 World Series to the importance of the ALS awareness and the great need for continued research.

I had the privilege on the last Saturday of the season to meet Pete and his wife, Julie, at Fenway Park, on the last weekend, and I wanted them to be here this evening. I know that they're with their new daughter, Lucy, in Boston. But on his behalf we're so honored to have with us Pete's dad, John, his mom, Nancy, his brother, Andrew, and his sister, Jennifer.

I want all of you to know that because of his leadership and his remarkable courage that baseball is playing tonight's game in honor of Pete and all of those brave ones who fight ALS. As a small token of our appreciation, we kindly ask you bring this specially made silver ice bucket back to Pete, Julie and Lucy.

John, would you like to say a few words, I hope?

JOHN FRATES:  Well, thank you, Commissioner. Thank you, MLB. It was always Pete's dream to take it to the next level. He always has been a captain and a leader. Remarkably similar to Lou Gehrig; a left‑hander, powerful guy, played football as well. He never achieved the goals that Lou set for himself and achieved. However, the disease is named after Lou, but I do feel with this challenge, this Ice Bucket Challenge that happened this summer, the amazing amount of awareness that was raised and the funding within six weeks' time. So the Commissioner mentioned $140 million, that is at the national ALS association. Our estimate is probably worldwide, maybe closer to $500 million by now or at least by year end. If that is the case, then we know we're so much closer to a treatment, and then our prayers would be answered at a cure.

So the amazing, stupendous, marvelous Ice Bucket Challenge that social media, this campaign waged against ALS and for ALS is really nothing short of miraculous.

For us to be sitting here tonight, where the Commissioner himself mentions our son's name, and says that Pete has the opportunity to participate in a huge way in the Major Leagues, his dream, is just absolutely miraculous.

The Commissioner mentioned he met Pete the other day, and that is so true. I asked Pete what happened, and Pete no longer speaks, so he has to text us. And what he did tell us is he was invited to this game, and he, unfortunately, isn't able to travel. But I said, "What else happened? What else did the Commissioner say?" He said, "Well, you're going to have to read my book." (Laughter).

COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG:  Well, in closing, all of you who cover me regularly, which includes a lot of you here, always hear me talk about, again, baseball being a social institution. This is another one of those really dramatic, emotional examples of that. And I know you'll communicate and convey to Pete our concerns and our prayers, and thank the four of you for being here today. I know this is one of those stories that is just very, very emotional. But we thank you for coming, and hope that in our way helping you, helping ALS, helping all the victims, that we really find a cure and have played a role in that. But we thank you.

I'm going to say this to you, you're quite a heroic family.

NANCY FRATES:  We appreciate it so much and we're honored. I just want to say that we're so honored and so grateful to be here. We are a very blessed family. Pete was diagnosed two and a half years ago, and he said that night to our family that we are going to change the face of this disease. And we stand here before you today and we're very grateful that we've been able to do that.

Pete has two major loves in his world: His family and baseball. You can ask anyone who knows Pete, he's at his happiest and at his most joyful when he's with teammates on a baseball field. And tonight it breaks my heart that he's not here with us, but he's here in spirit. He's home watching on TV, and this will bring him such joy, and I can't thank you enough, Commissioner.

COMMISSIONER BUD SELIG:  Thank you, everybody.