Frates Named 2013 Tom Walter College Baseball Inspiration Award Winner
July 29, 2013
Chestnut Hill, Mass. - Boston College director of baseball operates Pete Frates '07 was named one of the winners of the 2013 Tom Walter College Baseball Inspiration Award winners by CollegeBaseballInsider.com (CBI).
The award, started by CBI in 2011, is named for Tom Walter, the head coach at Wake Forest who donated a kidney to freshman outfielder Kevin Jordan before the 2011 season. Along with Frates, Illinois State pitching coach Bill Mohl, Davidson head coach Dick Cooke, Minnesota pitching coach Todd Oakes and pitcher Jordan Jess, Northwestern infielder Cody Stevens and the University of Texas-Pan American baseball team were also honored.
"It's our honor to shine a well-deserved light on an incredible group of student athletes and coaches," said Sean Ryan, co-founder of CBI, which has covered Division I college baseball since 2002. "Our winners, as well as the other finalists, have made a tremendous impact to their teams, and more important, their communities and beyond. We congratulate them and thank them for being an inspiration on an off the field."
While a player at BC, Frates was known for playing with intensity, energy and heart. Five years after captaining the Eagles, those same characteristics were on display when in the spring of 2012, he was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, at the age of 27. No longer able to keep his sales job, head coach Mike Gambino hired Frates as the team's director of baseball operations. In addition to assisting in many phases of the Eagles' program, Frates has been on a mission to raise awareness and funds for ALS research. He and his family started the Pete Frates #3 Fund, which helps to subsidize medical care and expenses not covered by health insurance.
"ALS has kind of been in the background for awhile, and it's just as deadly and it's just as traumatic a diagnosis as any of the other diseases," Frates said. "It's just a matter of getting the word out and letting people know about it. The more outcry there is about it, the better off we'll be."
Boston College has hosted an ALS Awareness Game the last two years, which set an attendance records for Shea Field, as people showed up to support Frates and the ALS Foundation. Pete also spoke on the ESPN 3 broadcast of the BC-UNC game in 2012, raising more awareness for ALS, met former NFL star OJ Bridgance before the season finale at Maryland and attended Steve Gleason's first ALS Summit in New Orleans. He has also been to Washington DC to speak at FDA hearings and represented the ALS community at the last two Red Sox's ALS Days. He plans to make more appearances and bring as much awareness and funds to the disease as possible.
"Pete has always exhibited the characteristics we look for in all our student-athletes, especially his work ethic and positive attitude," Gambino said. "He works hard and plays hard. He has high character and loves Boston College and the baseball program."
Full release with the rest of the winners' stories