DETROIT -- Just three days after the passing of his first-born child, Pat Neshek took the mound with a heavy heart, and the initials of his deceased son, "GJN" on his sleeve.
Just 23 hours after Gehrig John Neshek was born on Tuesday, he inexplicably died in his mother's arms. In the wake of the unthinkable situation, Neshek's wife Stephanee urged him to rejoin the team. In the seventh inning he ran from the bullpen to the mound, picked up the ball, and retired the only two batters he faced. It was an unforgettable and touching moment. It didn't matter that it came in a 3-1 loss.PRATT'S INSTANT REPLAY: A's drop Game 1 in Detroit
"I was thinking about him the whole time," Neshek said. Neshek entered the game with one out and a runner on first. He got Omar Infante to hit a grounder to shortstop Stephen Drew, who almost turned a double play. The A's reliever then struck out Austin Jackson to end the inning. As he jogged off the mound he tapped the patch with his son's initials on his sleeve, looked up, and exhaled. "Yesterday I said to get on the baseball field you don't really think about anything else, but tonight I was thinking about it," Neshek said while fighting back tears. "It sounds so clich but I felt like I had someone looking down on me and helping me." Neshek said he was told of the black patch with white letters memorializing his son yesterday. It was worn by the entire team."I broke down the second I heard it," Neshek said. "I thought that was really, really, special." Neshek hasn't been with the A's that long. He joined the team on August 3, when he was acquired for cash considerations. Yet, his teammates are all rallying around him like compassionate brothers."We all knew that his little one was with him out there on the mound," Josh Reddick said. "A lot of emotions going through the mind. You have to credit the guy. If that happened to me I don't know if I'd be sleeping at night so you have to credit him.""I don't know how he's here right now," Moss said. "That's pretty amazing that he's here and that he was able to keep his emotions in check and pitch the way he did. It says a lot about what kind of man he is."Neshek somehow held it together when addressing the media after the game. He had a tougher time doing so as he spent two days at home with his wife Stephanee after his son's tragic passing. After the second day at home he wasn't sure he could handle it for a third day. That's when his wife suggested he rejoin the team to ease his mind. It seems to have worked for now.
REWIND: Neshek's loss reverberates through A's
"Just getting that support and getting out of that inning it made me so happy," Neshek said. "They supported me the whole time.""These guys have been so awesome," Neshek added. "I don't think without a lot of the messages on Twitter and text messages I don't think I could have come back."Gehrig John Neshek was named after the Hall of Fame baseball player Lou Gehrig. He was born on October 2, and passed away on Wednesday October 3. In just 23 short hours he made an impact on the millions of people that have heard his story. That's more than many people can say they have done in a much longer life time. Gone but not forgotten. Forever loved by his parents Pat and Stephanee. GJN.