Inspired by Pete Frates, Major League Baseball announces ALS fund-raising campaign

Commissioner Rob Manfred said Major League Baseball is “proud to assist ALS patients and families.”
Commissioner Rob Manfred said Major League Baseball is “proud to assist ALS patients and families.”FILE/ROB CARR/GETTY IMAGES

In 2014, the world was introduced to Pete Frates and the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a fund-raising campaign that took off and raised $115 million in six weeks for the ALS Association.

The success of the Ice Bucket Challenge inspired Major League Baseball, which Thursday pledged its support of the ALS Association’s Home Health Initiative with a new “MLB Fights ALS” campaign.

Most of the money raised by the Ice Bucket Challenge was allocated to research for treatments and finding a cure for ALS, a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects neurons in the brain and the spinal cord. The scientific community has credited the Ice Bucket Challenge with leading to new discoveries and advancing the search for a cure, but many families, including that of Frates, a former Boston College baseball captain, are still dealing with the burden of high costs of health care for people suffering from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

That’s where MLB and the ALS Home Health Initiative come in. Those who donate $50 or more to the ALS Association from Aug. 1-5 will be entered to win a pair of tickets to a 2017 World Series game. The money raised will go toward combating the high costs that come with living with ALS, which according to the Frates family can exceed $90,000 per month.


“Because of Lou Gehrig, baseball has long had a connection to the fight against ALS,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “In his memory, we are proud to assist ALS patients and families who carrying the enormous financial burden of living with the disease that bears his name. We encourage our fans to join us in helping ALS patients receive the best care possible.”

Frates tweeted his reaction to the announcement on Twitter: “so huge!”

In a tweet about the initiative, MLB’s communications department said the initiative is “in honor of Pete Frates, fellow members of the baseball family & fans battling ALS.”