By Roy Reiss
May 7, 2015
Pete Frates and the Cotuit Kettleers
Is there really a connection between one of the most inspirational individuals of this century and one of the most tradition rich franchises in the Cape Cod Baseball League?
Some would say it’s a real stretch to talk about the two in the same sentence, but there is a very definite link.
Frates, as many know, was the former captain of the Boston College baseball team and a professional in the European League who was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Lou Gehrig’s disease in March 2012. Frates has since gone on to be the poster child for ALS awareness and the driving force behind the successful Ice Bucket Challenge that’s raised over 100 million dollars in donations to fight the dreaded disease. Sports Illustrated recognized Frates as their 2014 “Inspiration of the Year” for all his efforts. The Red Sox honored him at their Opening Day ceremonies last month and even signed him to a major league contract.
So where’s the connection with the Kettleers?
On June 7, 2011 Frates was on the roster of the Lexington Blue Sox when they met the Kettleers in an exhibition game at beautiful Lowell Park in Cotuit, MA.
(photo courtesy of Lexington Blue Sox)
Some would wonder how the Kettleers would schedule an Inter City League team for an exhibition. Rick De’Angelis, the General Manager and Head Coach of the Blue Sox, happens to be a former Kettleer from 1968 who has stayed in touch with Kettleers patriarch, Arnold Mycock.
De’Angelis recalls how Frates approached the annual trip to Cotuit. “He was excited to play at Lowell Park because he knew how special a venue Lowell Park is to the players, coaches, GM, staff and without doubt the great Cotuit fans. While Pete played Summer Collegiate ball in a number of different Summer Leagues, he missed out on the Cape. So, in one sense, the trip to Cotuit – and he made 4 – was meaningful to Pete. He wanted to play well because he had so much admiration for all the hard work that the players put into their dreams while playing for Cotuit.”
Frates’ incredible work bringing awareness to ALS has touched many across the United States, including Kettleers Board of Directors member Joe Cavanaugh. After watching Nancy Frates accept a Hope Award in her son’s honor, Cavanaugh, like Frates a Boston College grad, reached out to the young man.
“I could not agree more with your mom who said in the video that she always knew she had a very special son in you. She does. God Bless you, Peter Frates. You are one of the most courageous people I have ever seen in my life, and a true inspiration to more people than you will ever know. And while God’s apparent plan for you unfairly lacks the healthy longevity we all hope for, your life has already been far more meaningful than the overwhelming majority of the billions and billions of human beings who have lived and died on Planet Earth. Your life reminds me of a line from the movie Braveheart: Every man dies, not every man really lives. You, Mr. Frates, have lived. And from this proud Eagle, I say, well done, and from the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your life and your incredible inspiration,” wrote Cavanugh.
Kettleers Korner will be anything and everything that might interest fans, past and present, about the Kettleers. Roy Reiss, who started his career working for Curt Gowdy Broadcasting, was a former sportscaster on Channel 7 and several radio stations in Boston. His son Mike now covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.com.