Pete Frates Diamond Dedication at St. John’s Preparatory School
On an evening packed with emotion, pride and gratitude, Pete Frates was honored earlier in October in a private ceremony to dedicate the varsity baseball field as “Pete Frates ’03 Diamond.” Following the field dedication, and under the lights on Glatz Field at Cronin Memorial Stadium, members of the Frates family assisted in the coin toss before the start of the varsity football game. More pictures on SmugMug.
“It’s exciting to be part of preserving Pete’s legacy, especially in a forum he’s always been so passionate about—the baseball diamond,” said Headmaster Edward P. Hardiman, Ph.D. “In a sense, we’re inscribing our school values on our own field to inspire others in the same way Pete has. Every player who plays here and sees Pete’s name and number etched into the field of play will hopefully reflect on what it means to try and influence every situation for the good of others.”
At Friday night’s dedication, with Frates looking on, the setting sun sunk over the new Wellness Center, bathing the field in coral-colored warmth as Brother Tim Paul, C.F.X., blessed the new field. The moment was simple and contemplative, but profoundly moving.
“He just got super emotional when he came inside from the field dedication prior to the coin toss,” said Frates’ wife, Julie. “He has such fond memories here. To have his legacy stamped here forever is so meaningful to him. When the football team escorted him on the field, he was smiling from ear to ear. This is a second home for him, and our family just loves being here.”
The Frates family’s connection to St. John’s runs deep with a legacy that includes Pete’s father, John, who is a 1976 graduate, and his brother, Andrew, a 2006 graduate. Friday’s event was live-streamed to Kenneally Commons inside the Brother Keefe C.F.X. Academic Center, where a reception was held for members of Peter’s graduating class of ’03 and Frates’ teammates from the Class of ’04 as well as alumni from both Andrew and John Frates’ graduating classes.
“We’ve come to a lot of games over the years, but this is a truly special moment,” said Frates’ brother, Andrew. “You know, as I watch this football game, it strikes me that my brother was a baseball player who played baseball like a football player. He played with such with such tenacity and energy. It means so much to have that baseball field dedicated in his name. And I know both of us would give anything to be back out on that football field tonight. But you know what? We are out there right now. Those kids out there are our brothers. That’s the Prep.”
Friday night’s dedication was one in a trio of school accolades for Frates. In August, the Prep named Frates as its 2018 Distinguished Alumnus and announced the retirement of his No. 3 jersey, the first number to be retired in the history of Eagles athletics. The distinction will extend to all three sports he played—football, hockey and baseball. The retired jerseys were displayed in the baseball dugout during the field dedication.
Frates has battled amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease) for more than five years and sparked a cultural phenomenon by popularizing the Ice Bucket Challenge, which went viral on social media during the summer of 2014. The Beverly native ultimately inspired unprecedented fundraising in the search for a cure. Multiple charitable initiatives in association with “Team Frate Train” and Pete Frates #3 have raised more than $220 million worldwide.
A three-sport standout in football, baseball, and hockey at the Prep, Frates played four years in center field at Boston College and captained the BC Eagles as a college senior in 2007, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communications. He was diagnosed with the disease in March 2012, at the age of 27. A Catholic Conference All-Star in football and baseball at the Prep, Frates was part of two conference championship teams in each sport and also earned Catholic Conference Honorable Mention recognition in ice hockey. He resides in Beverly with his wife and their three-year-old daughter, Lucy.
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