Who could have known? Who could have known that a player some considered a potential Hall of Fame catcher [...] would have his future stolen from him by an incurable disease that rarely afflicts people as young as 22?
How good was Petrick? Go back and look at his stats. In those 240 games for the Rockies and Tigers, he hit .257 with 27 home runs and 94 RBIs while trying to control the symptoms of Parkinson’s, which include tremors, rigidity and slow movements. He was not only tough enough to be a catcher, the most demanding position on the field, but also athletic enough to play centerfield when he wasn’t behind the plate.
“Looking back, I am amazed at what he accomplished,” says Rockies first baseman Todd Helton, who was Colorado’s first pick in the 1995 draft, the year Petrick was taken in the second round. “It’s hard enough performing at the highest level of this game, which he did. On top of that, he had to fight off a disease that robbed him of his physical ability. And on top of that, he had to play under the tremendous pressure of hiding the effects of that disease.”
Helton pauses. “You know what, though?” he says. “I’m more impressed by what he’s done with his life since.”
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