Emerson ace helps strike out ALS

by Lyndi McIntyre / Beacon Correspondent • September 17, 2014

Jack Capotorto pitched a scoreless inning.
courtesy of Jack Capotorto
Jack Capotorto pitched a scoreless inning.
courtesy of Jack Capotorto

Junior right-handed pitcher Jack Capotorto donned an old-school uniform, buddied up with a Red Sox player, and ultimately, helped raise money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS.

Capotorto pitched at the 21st annual Steve Buckley Oldtime Baseball Game on Aug. 25, at St. Peter’s Field in North Cambridge.

Every year local college baseball players come together and form new teams in order to raise money for a certain cause. This year they played for ALS, a degenerative disease that affects nerves in the brain and spine.

One of the participants was Pete Frates, a one-time captain of the Boston College baseball team and the creator of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2012.

“I ended up being on the team that Pete [Frates] and all his buddies were on,” Capotorto, a visual and media arts major, said. “It was pretty cool because he was hanging out in the dugout, and it was nice to see him having a good time.”

Emerson’s baseball coach David Hanley selected Capotorto to represent the school at the event. He is the fifth player from Emerson to play in the game.

“A lot of the kids go home in the summer and I wanted someone who could commit to it,” Hanley said. “Steve Buckley calls me every year for an Emerson kid and this year he told me he wanted a pitcher.”

Capotorto pitched a scoreless inning, and his team included multiple Boston College players as well as student athletes from other schools.

Mike Timlin, a former Red Sox relief pitcher and member of the 2004 World Series Champion Red Sox team, started the game in honor of his mother who died from the disease in 2002.

“The coolest part for me was when Timlin dapped me up [slang for high-fived] after I pitched and said ‘good inning,’” Capotorto said.

Players are given old flannel uniforms representing different time periods in the history of baseball, from the Boston Braves to the St. Louis Browns. Capotorto wore a 1939 Oakland Oaks jersey.

“I enjoyed the whole atmosphere and the turnout, plus they treated us very well as players,” Capotorto said. “To see everyone rally around this cause was just an emotional thing."

Though Capotorto thought it was important to play in the game to represent Emerson athletics, he recognizes the true significance of his participation in support of ALS.

“With the whole ice bucket thing going around it’s nice to have one central thing, especially because Pete started the Ice Bucket Challenge,” Capotorto said. “It brought it all together since the challenge was throughout the summer. This final baseball game was a nice way to close it out.”