Moving Story about Brian Doyle
By Alfred Santasiere III
June 25, 2015 — A day after Old-Timers’ Day, the Yankees Legends Game was played at the home of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (see blog entry below about the special edition of Yankees Magazine for that game).
The Father’s Day fundraising event was dedicated to former second baseman Brian Doyle, who has been battling Parkinson’s disease since 2014, and proceeds from the game benefitted the National Parkinson Foundation and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.
For a story that will be published in the July Issue of Yankees Magazine, I spent the day at PNC Field in Northeastern PA, and I sat down with Doyle for a long conversation prior to the game.
“They raised $40,000 for Parkinson’s research in one day,” Doyle said from his seat in the dugout. “We’ve gotten an amazing turnout of great players, and everyone is having fun. I feel very blessed.”
Doyle also shared his excitement with me about achieving a goal that he had worked diligently and courageously toward. Despite the physical limitations that Parkinson’s has presented him with, Doyle was determined to jog onto the field when he was introduced.
“My daughter takes me to work out every Thursday,” Doyle said. “After I go through my Parkinson’s therapy, we go to a track, and I jog just a little. Eventually, I was able to jog a little more, and I began to think that I could do this. It meant so much for me to jog out to the infield at Yankee Stadium yesterday and here at PNC Field. Then, I was not only able to throw the ceremonial first pitch today, but I also threw it for strike. That capped off an unbelievable weekend for me.”
On a personal note, I feel very lucky to have had the chance to spend time with Doyle. He’s a kind man and a class act, and it’s a pleasure to be around him. I’m also grateful to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders and especially their co-managing owner David Abrams for rolling out the red carpet for my family and I. Being in the dugout with my wife, Tiana, and our son, Alfred, made for an unforgettable experience. And, after the game, I took my 7-year-old boy “to work with me.” Having Alfred at my side in the clubhouse as I interviewed several Yankees greats for the story was an equally memorable Father’s Day present.
— Alfred Santasiere III