Getting involved in the fight against ALS, otherwise known as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is hardly unknown among big leaguers.
12/11/2007 11:56 AM ET
Schneider got an up-close look at ALS
By George Castle / Special to MLBPLAYERS.com
Curt Schilling has been prominent in the effort. Wherever he played, be it Chicago or Philadelphia, former second baseman Mickey Morandini -- now the baseball coach at Valparaiso (Ind.) High School -- could be counted upon to head up ALS fundraising.
But Brian Schneider has a personal stake in contributing his time and money to ALS events. His grandmother, Effie Schneider, suffered from the insidious disease, which leaves one's mental faculties intact but slowly paralyzes the entire body.
"Any kind of fundraiser involving ALS, I try to get involved in," said Schneider, who was recently traded to the New York Mets. "When I have a chance to donate money to any organization, I give it to ALS."
The memories of slowly losing a loved one won't go away anytime soon.
"It was so hard to see that disease take place," Schneider said of his grandmother's diagnosis. "She could always do so much and her mind was so smart. She would do crosswords every day and continued to do them after she lost the use of her hands. We'd all fill out the crosswords for her.
"It's crazy how that disease sets in. Everything's fine, then you start losing (movement in) your hands and feet. Things start affecting you a little more. It's reality and you do the best you can. You can't let it affect you where they can see it."
Of course, Gehrig, the all-time Yankees great, was the most famous person ever afflicted by ALS. Schneider understands the basics of the Iron Horse's story, but is more concerned about the status of the disease today.
"I know how terrible it is," he said.
In his first full year in the Majors in Montreal in 2002, Schneider was active in the ALS fight. He was named the team's Roberto Clemente Award recipient, with a $2,500 check being presented to the ALS Society of Quebec on his behalf. He continued his work after the franchise shifted to Washington.
"I give as much time as possible if the local (ALS) chapter asks. People are raising a lot of money for it," Schneider said.
-- Red Line Editorial