Father Un-Retires to Catch in Son’s First Game Since Leukemia Diagnosis [VIDEO]
WATKINS -- The Watkins Clippers amateur baseball team beat the St. Nicholas Nicks 10-0 on Friday, but the final score isn't what made the night unforgettable.
Pitcher T.J. Frericks played his first game with the Clippers since being diagnosed with leukemia in June.
"It [felt] pretty good to be out there," says the 20-year-old St. Cloud Apollo graduate.
"It's hard to explain just how fun that was."
To make the night even more special, Frericks' father, Tom, came out of retirement to catch for his son. The 52-year-old Frericks, who owns the Ultimate Sports Bar and Grill in Waite Park, last played for the Watkins Clippers seven years ago.
"It's emotional," Tom says. "It's your boy, it's a boy you love dearly and you're trying to help him see that leukemia is there but he can start living life and finding peace out here where loves it most -- a baseball field."
T.J. Frericks, who pitches at Wabash Valley College in Illinois, threw 5 2/3 shutout innings and says he hopes to pitch in a few more games this summer.
"I'm just going to get my body more in shape and move forward," Frericks says. "This is kind of the first stepping stone to get me back and to get me as physically healthy as possible."
With a 10-0 lead in the sixth inning, T.J. and Tom Frericks exited the game early -- walking off the field together as father and son.
"He told me what a competitor I was and that's always a good thing to hear from your dad," T.J. says.
"The world's going to knock things on you," Tom says. "You have to keep grinding away at it and make the best out of it, and [T.J.] has always had a remarkable makeup with that and tonight's a perfect example of it."
"I couldn't be prouder of what he's doing and what he's accomplishing."