Watch CBS News

1st pitch at A's game marks fulfillment of Bay Area family's epic quest

1st pitch at A's game marks fulfillment of Bay Area family's epic quest
1st pitch at A's game marks fulfillment of Bay Area family's epic quest 03:03

OAKLAND (KPIX) -- With his own grandson on the mound hurling the horsehide, a ceremonial first pitch at Sunday's A's game was caught by a man who has lived with Parkinson's Disease for over 20 years. 

It was a full-circle moment 18 years in the making.

"I don't drive anymore. I said if I can't drive and I can't play golf, I don't want to be alive," said 78-year-old Dan Cochrane. Cochrane said he no longer feels that way although he admits Parkinson's has changed every part of that life.

"I'm slower. I have less energy. Got a lot of pain," Cochrane said.

Back in 1990, long before it was a popular idea, the East Bay father suggested to his son Robert Cochrane they could visit all 30 baseball stadiums across the country that summer. They made it to four ballparks then decided to put the idea on hold when they realized how much travel it would involve.

Fast forward to 2001. The elder Cochrane was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. The family had a lot of uncertainties and fears and they weren't sure how much time Cochrane would have left.

In 2004, son Robert decided they should finish their goal of visiting all 30 ballparks, starting with their local -- and favorite -- team, the Oakland A's.

"It was two months of driving, about 350, 400 miles a day," Robert Cochrane recalled.

In the past 18 years, Robert Cochrane, a filmmaker, has made three documentaries about their Parkinson's-inspired ballpark journey to raise awareness and help people better understand the disease.

On Sunday, the father and son came back to the Oakland Coliseum where it all started.

"It's coming full circle," Robert Cochrane said.

First Pitch
With his grandson pitching, Dan Cochrane caught the ceremonial first pitch at the A's game on Sunday. KPIX

Dan's grandson, 13-year-old Giuseppe Cochrane, practiced throwing the ceremonial first pitch.

"Kind of nervous  but kind of confident. I practiced at 60 feet," Giuseppe said just before the game.

Oakland Athletics president Dave Kaval met with the Cochrane family as granddad and grandson warmed up on the field.

The A's were hosting Parkinson's Disease Awareness Day at the game.

Right before the afternoon game, Giuseppe Cochrane threw a pitch to his grandfather -- no bounce -- and Dan Cochrane caught it.

"Great toss, great toss," said the elder Cochrane to his grandson.

Dan wants people to know Parkinson's isn't a death sentence. They can live a productive life and accomplish much of what they set their minds to, even catching the first pitch at an A's game.

Robert and Dan Cochrane are starting a non-profit organization in the Bay Area called Yes, And ... Exercise! (YAX) to help people living with Parkinson's improve their quality of life.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.