Former Major League Baseball players reconnect with St. Jude

Photography by Ann-Margaret Hedges

Former Major League Baseball players and current broadcasters Frank Thomas and Jeff Nelson visited St. Jude while in town for the National Youth Baseball Championships. At the hospital, they autographed their respective teams’ hats (Thomas, the White Sox and Nelson, the Yankees) and posed for pictures with patients and families. Later that day, they helped St. Jude patient Chase throw out the first pitch at a Memphis Redbirds game.

Rockey, the Memphis Redbird mascot, and Redbirds players also visited the hospital and spent some time coloring with the patients.

This was the fourth time Nelson had visited St. Jude as part of the tournament, but it was the first visit for Thomas since his sister was treated at St. Jude some 30 years ago. She was treated for leukemia, but sadly lost her battle with cancer. Thomas said the visit was tough for him, but he was encouraged to hear how treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) has improved so much. “The visit was good for my soul," he said.