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Seattle Mariners

Steve Gleason participates in Mariners’ ceremonial first pitch on Lou Gehrig Day

ALS patient Steve Gleason, in wheelchair, is pictured on the field during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner before a game between the Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners at T-Mobile Park on June 2, 2024 in Seattle, Washington. Gleason was part of pregame ceremonies in honor of Lou Gehrig Day.  (Getty Images)
By Adam Jude Seattle Times

As part of the Mariners’ commemoration of Lou Gehrig Day, Steve Gleason participated in the ceremonial first pitch before Sunday’s game at T-Mobile Park.

Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready, a close friend of Gleason, performed the national anthem Sunday.

A Spokane native, Gleason, 47, starred in football and baseball at Washington State before spending seven seasons playing for the New Orleans Saints.

He was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) in 2011, and this spring he published a memoir, “A Life Impossible,” about living with ALS.

“This story is a human story,” Gleason said in an interview with The Seattle Times earlier this month. “And my intention in writing it was to share the connection that we all have. We all experience adversity, we all encounter heart-crushing loss and we all experience suffering. This is a book about seeing adversity as the ultimate opportunity to grow stronger and better, then to discover the extraordinary within each of our own hearts, minds and spirits.”

Gleason was joined on the field Sunday by the children of Chris Snow, Cohen and Willa, who took turns throwing first pitches to the Mariners’ Luke Raley, serving as the honorary catcher.

Snow, a sports writer turned NHL executive, died at the age of 42 last October after a lengthy public battle with ALS.

MLB commemorated the inaugural Lou Gehrig Day on June 2, 2021, on the 80th anniversary of the death of the Yankees’ legend.