Ben Petrick's inspirational story

  • Buster Olney [ARCHIVE]
  • September 26, 2012

By the time Ben Petrick walked away from baseball at age 27, he left behind the vivid memories that he created for others, cemented by the revelation that Petrick had been playing with an incurable disease.

As "E:60" put together its piece on Petrick, which aired for the first time Tuesday and can be seen here, we heard so many stories about the former catcher. Brandon Inge was Petrick's roommate years ago, after Petrick had been traded to the Tigers, and while sitting at table in Lakeland, Fla., last March, Inge recalled a difficult moment.

"I remember the spring training he had a couple of throws from the outfield," Inge said. "I'm pretty sure Kirk Gibson was one of our coaches. [Petrick] came up and he was throwing to home plate -- and he throws the ball not even to home, not even to third but halfway in between. Like it wasn't even a base. And I remember coming back in and he's all mad and Kirk Gibson is jumping on him. 'What are you doing, where are you throwing the ball?'

"And he doesn't say a word, he doesn't make an excuse, he doesn't say anything and we ended up getting all over him."

Tears glistened in Inge's eyes as he continued. The following year, he said, he heard that Petrick had retired -- and that Petrick revealed, for the first time, that he had been playing with early onset Parkinson's disease.

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