On Oct. 2, just days before making his second playoff appearance in Major League Baseball, Oakland Athletics relief pitcher Pat Neshek and his wife Stephanee welcomed their first child — Gehrig John Neshek — into the world.
Less than a day later the birth of the Nesheks’ first child turned into a tragedy. Just 23 hours after his birth Gehrig died unexpectedly. with no explanation as to why.
Neshek revealed the tragedy on Twitter, saying, “Please pray for my family. Tonight my wife & I lost our first & only son 23 hours after he was born with no explanation.”
Neshek is the son of Gene and Paula (Plourde) Neshek, who live in Melbourne Beach, Fla., and the grandson of the late Pat (Plourde) and Robert Plourde of Platteville and the great-grandson of the late Anita Slack Biddick.
The A’s clinched a playoff berth Oct. 1, and one day later Neshek left the team when Stephanee went into labor.
Neshek was not with the team on Wednesday when the A’s clinched the American League West on Wednesday with a 12–5 victory over Texas, or Thursday, an off day before Oakland opened its American League Divisional Series against the Detroit Tigers.
Neshek returned to the team on Friday, after Stephanee encouraged him to do so. He pitched to two batters in Saturday night’s 3–1 loss to the Tigers, getting them both out.
In a small yet significant gesture, the A’s are wearing a “GJN” patch on their uniforms through the postseason to honor Gehrig.
Neshek was a 2002 sixth-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins. He was born in Madison, went to high school in Minneapolis, and pitched in college at Butler University.
He missed all of the 2009 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow in his right arm.
He spent 2011 with San Diego, and the first half of this season in Class AAA with the Baltimore Orioles minor-league affiliate before his contract was purchased by the A’s on Aug. 3.