BOSTON (CBS) — Boston College baseball and softball players will soon do their training inside the Pete Frates Center. BC is honoring their former baseball captain by naming their new training facility after him, the school announced Wednesday.
The Pete Frates Center will give student athletes a chance to practice year-round. It will be a 31,000-square foot indoor baseball and softball facility with all the bells and whistles, featuring hitting tunnels, an indoor turf field, strength and conditioning space, and a hospitality area. Construction got underway earlier this month, with the Pete Frates Center scheduled to open in the summer of 2020.
Frates and his family, along with Boston College head baseball coach Mike Gambino, were on hand when athletic director Martin Jarmond made the announcement on Wednesday.
“It’s the culmination of a well-lived life. This building, what I’m hoping, is all this strength, determination, energy and effort is transferred from Pete right into this building,” said Pete’s father, John.
“The most important piece is that Pete is here and here to soak this in, to see his legacy,” said Nancy Frates, Pete’s mother. “It means he was not just a great player, but was a great man and still is a great man.”
Both parents said Frates is humbled by the honor, but his mother said he would have set some expectations if he could have addressed the baseball team after the ceremony.
“He would turn the dime right on the baseball players sitting here and put an expectation out there. That’s what Pete did. He was the hardest worker on the team; he may not have been the greatest talent but he was the hardest worker and his level of expectation for other teammates was you’re going to do just the same,” she said.
Frates was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis in March 2012 at the age of 27. He and his family made significant efforts to raise awareness and money to try and find a cure for the progressive disease, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
Frates was the inspiration behind the Ice Bucket Challenge, which became a viral sensation in the summer of 2014 and raised $115 million for the ALS Association. During the social media phenomenon, people were challenged to dump a bucket of ice water over their head, donate to the cause and ask friends to do the same.
The Frates family vowed to continue the Ice Bucket Challenge every August until there is a cure. The campaign reached worldwide levels with professional athletes, politicians and celebrities participating and donating.
Frates was an outfielder for Boston College’s baseball team from 2004 to 2007, starting 107 games for the Eagles. He remained heavily involved with the program following graduation, and the school retired his number 3 during an ALS awareness game in May 2016.