Father plays catcher for son's first baseball game since leukemia diagnosis


A St. Cloud area father and son played baseball together for the first time in an amateur game with the Watkins Clippers.

It's an emotional time for any parent and child – but even more so for Tom and T.J. Frericks because of the circumstances: T.J. was diagnosed with leukemia on June 6, so Tom came out of retirement so the two could play in a game together, the St. Cloud Times reported.

"It's something we wanted to do when he was a senior in high school and it never happened," Tom said. "We thought this would be a good time to give him something to look forward to while he's dealing with (leukemia)."

"It's been a struggle," said T.J., a 20-year-old left-handed pitcher and graduate of St. Cloud Apollo High School. "There have been a lot of ups and downs."

According to the Minnesota Baseball Association, Watkins Baseball Park hosted "T.J. Frericks Night" on July 10 and the southpaw threw 5 2/3 shutout innings, with all his pitches being caught by his 52-year-old father. Tom even had a pair of singles and 3 RBI in the game – not bad for a guy that hadn't played in seven years.

"I really couldn't have scripted it much better," T.J. said.

The Tri-County News adds that more than 400 people showed up to watch the game.

T.J.'s cancer is now in remission, but his diagnosis of chronic myeloid leukemia is rare. Per the Times, a doctor said T.J. is the youngest person he's seen diagnosed with that form of leukemia.

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T.J.'s goal is to pitch again at Wabash Valley College in Illinois, where he was a redshirt freshman last season.

WJON's Jay Caldwell interviewed Tom just days before the event and he declared they're fighting the battle and plan on winning the battle. You can listen to the interview right here.

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