Boy with Rare Disease Throws Out First Pitch at A's Game from Kansas City

Gabe ZaldivarPop Culture Lead WriterJune 12, 2013

We live in amazing times. A boy who is forced to stay home because of his rare disease still got the chance to throw out the first pitch before a major league game. 

The San Francisco Chronicle's Michael Gray (h/t CBS Sports) reports on a marvelous use of technology that helped a 13-year-old live out his dream of pitching in the majors. 

The following video gives a brief and captivating synopsis on Nick LeGrande, a boy with an immense passion for baseball who was told he would no longer be able to play the game after being diagnosed with aplastic anemia. 

As the video states, the rare blood disorder compromises LeGrande's immune system, so he is unable to be out in public, keeping him from enjoying a great deal of activities the rest of us take for granted. 

Surely, this is the kind of disease that would squash any hope of throwing a baseball from the mound to home plate with thousands of MLB fans looking on. 

Again, we live in amazing times. 

LeGrande tossed his memorable pitch 1,800 miles away from Oakland, Calif., in Kansas City, Mo. The pitch was carried out in Oakland by a special robotic pitching machine.

Gray has more

The A’s say it’s believed to be the first telerobotic first pitch in Major League Baseball history. The same technology is used to perform remote operations aboard the International Space Station and allows doctors to perform surgery in remote areas.


The telerobotic pitching machine, meanwhile, will sit atop the pitcher’s mound in Oakland. The machine will follow Nick’s movements as he winds up and throws, allowing him to throw the pitch remotely and to see it happen at Coliseum.

The report goes on to state pitcher Ryan Cook played a vital part in bringing Google—the company helping with the ceremonial toss—and the LeGrande family together, and he was the player catching the remarkable pitch. 

While Cook settled in to take a toss from a machine, a boy who had to give up playing his favorite sport tossed a fastball all the way from Missouri. 

His smile said it all. 


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