HILLSBORO, OR - Only about a decade has passed since Ben Petrick was a promising catcher for the Colorado Rockies. But the quick onset of Parkinson's disease forced him to retire at the age of 27.
Petrick's heart never really left the game and this season he jumped at a chance to join the Hillsboro Hops, the Class A short-season affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
He's a special coach, counseling the minor leaguers -- some still in their teens -- about the ins and outs of professional baseball.
This week the Hops honored Petrick at a Parkinson's awareness night and the game against the Spokane Indians drew 3,282 fans. Among them was former NBA star Brian Grant, who also has Parkinson's.
Five-year-old Makena Petrick threw out the first pitch to her dad.