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A’s star Piscotty loses mom, an Albuquerque native, less than year after her ALS diagnosis

From left, Mike Piscotty, Ken Kloeppel and Gretchen Piscotty watch Stephen Piscotty of the Memphis Redbirds play against the Albuquerque Isotopes in August 2014. Gretchen (Del Norte) and Mike (Sandia) each graduated from Albuquerque high schools and from the University of New Mexico. (Greg Sorber/Albuquerque Journal)

OAKLAND, Calif. — The mother of Athletics outfielder Stephen Piscotty has died, less than a year after being diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

Gretchen Piscotty, a Del Norte High School and University of New Mexico graduate, died Sunday night from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, the A’s said Monday.

She was diagnosed with ALS in May 2017 when her son was with St. Louis. The Cardinals traded him to Oakland in December in part to allow Piscotty to be closer to his home in the East Bay suburb of Pleasanton during his mother’s terminal illness. The A’s stressed they had targeted Piscotty beginning last July and were in search of a right-handed hitting outfielder.

Stephen Piscotty was with his mother and family at the time of her passing, according to manager Bob Melvin.

“Obviously as an organization and certainly the players, we have heavy hearts for him,” Melvin said. “We know what he’s been going through. He’s been going through it for quite a while now. He’s really close to his mom. We all feel bad about what he’s been through and what he’s going through right now.”

Gretchen and Mike, a Sandia High graduate, moved to California some time after both graduated from UNM. The two watched their son, then with the Memphis Redbirds, play in their hometown against the Albuquerque Isotopes in August of 2014 at Isotopes Park.

“This is like coming home for us,” Mike Piscotty told the Journal then of him and his wife getting to watch Stephen play in Albuquerque, where they both grew up. “It’s one thing watching him play out in California, but my childhood memories, and a lot of friends, they’re all here. This is a special day for us.”

The A’s planned to honor Gretchen by matching up to $50,000 in donations made to the ALS Therapy Development Institute via youcaring.com/piscotty.

“The Athletics organization extends its deepest condolences to the Piscotty family on the loss of Gretchen,” executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane said. “She was a devoted wife and mother, whose legacy will live on through her husband, Mike, and their sons Stephen, Austin and Nick.”

Stephen Piscotty is expected to be placed on the bereavement list, Melvin said.

“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. “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.”

Cardinals manager Mike Matheny coached Piscotty for three seasons in St. Louis and knew the family well.

“I remember them from the draft all the way through,” Matheny said. “It’s been a tough go for them, so I’m thinking about them and praying for their family. You just can’t put a template on how to go through that and how he’s supposed to handle it. Stephen is a first-class guy himself, and a great family. I’m just hurting for them all the way through.”

Signed to a $33.5 million, six-year contract last May, the 27-year-old Piscotty is batting .243 with two home runs, seven doubles and 13 RBIs in 32 games.

 

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