Members of the TCU baseball team look out for one another like brothers 8212; just ask junior pitcher Kaleb Merck. Friday night was no exception.
Merck has had a rough year by nearly any pitcher’s standards. In September, he suffered a season-ending injury to his pitching arm. On Sept. 24, he underwent Tommy John surgery to repair his arm and will not pitch this season.
Merck also recently found out his mother, Kathy Merck, had been diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time. She was first diagnosed in October 2000, and was cancer-free until early this year.
To show support for Merck, the team decided it would wear pink ties to the annual First Pitch Banquet, which was held Friday night at the Omni Hotel in downtown Fort Worth.
Earlier in the week, a team meeting was held in the Horned Frogs’ locker room. The team presented Merck with a special pink tie to wear at the banquet in honor of his mother.
“To have a team full of 35 guys come together for one person is pretty cool,” Merck said. “We’re a family no matter what. We’re all brothers.”
Kathy Merck said she was surprised to learn what the team was doing in her honor.
“It made me want to cry,” Kathy Merck said. “I was so touched by it.”
Head coach Jim Schlossnagle said the coaching staff had no part in the idea to wear pink ties.
“Certainly, it says a lot about how much our guys care about each other and how supportive they are of each other and the cause as well,” Schlossnagle said.
Merck, however, wasn’t the only member of the team or the pitching staff who had a mother diagnosed with breast cancer.
Freshman pitcher Andrew Mitchell’s mother also had been diagnosed twice with breast cancer. She was first diagnosed in April 1995 and again in May 2003.
“I felt really honored that people cared really about my family in that situation,” Mitchell said.
On Feb. 17, the team will hold a “Frogs for the Cure” Women’s Baseball Clinic benefitting the Susan G. Komen Foundation of Greater Fort Worth. The deadline for registration was Friday.
Kathy Merck said she participated in the clinic last year but will be unable to attend this year.
“It was a lot of fun last year,” she said. “I’m definitely going to miss not being able to go.”