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Dad backed Eickhoff, despite broken windows

@ToddZolecki
June 16, 2019

ATLANTA -- Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff shared a great story about his father Ron before Father’s Day on Sunday. “Before a game in middle school, we went to my school to take some ground balls,” Eickhoff said. “It’s an all-dirt infield. I’m catching some. I’m handling the ones he’s hitting

ATLANTA -- Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff shared a great story about his father Ron before Father’s Day on Sunday.

“Before a game in middle school, we went to my school to take some ground balls,” Eickhoff said. “It’s an all-dirt infield. I’m catching some. I’m handling the ones he’s hitting so he starts hitting them a little harder. I’m at shortstop. He rifles one, and it probably hit a rock because it’s all dirt. It just clocks me right in the middle of the forehead. I go down. He runs over. He felt so bad. ‘Are you OK?’ This is just before a game. Nobody else is around. I stumbled around a bit, but I was fine.

“My brothers [Jonathan and Jordan] and I were always bugging him. [In] our backyard, we had a shed with three windows. He would throw BP to us. We’d always rifle them off the shed. It’s got so many dents. He had to change so many windows. We’d blast the windows out. He’s a carpenter, so it got to the point where we made wood fittings for each window. Before we’d go out and hit, we’d put them on all the windows just to protect them. We’d be like, ‘Can we hit?’ And he said, ‘Yeah.’ So, we’d run outside to the shed, pull out the wood pieces and put them over the windows. Our garage was made out of aluminum. There are so many frickin’ dents there. All over the place.”

For the fourth consecutive year, players wore specially-designed New Era caps for Father’s Day to raise awareness and funds for the fight against prostate cancer. Players also had the option to wear Stance multi-pattern blue-dyed socks. MLB will donate 100 percent of its royalties from the sales of specialty caps and apparel emblazoned with the symbolic blue ribbon -- a minimum $300,000 collective donation -- to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer.

The effort includes the annual Prostate Cancer Foundation “Home Run Challenge,” which has given fans the chance to make a one-time monetary donation or pledge for every home run hit by their favorite MLB Clubs during the time period of Saturday, June 1st through Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16th, all the while tracking where their team stacks up in a “Team vs. Team” competition. Every dollar donated through the Home Run Challenge goes to PCF to fund critical research to defeat prostate cancer. As of June 13, more than $1.26 million has been pledged via the Home Run Challenge in 2019. Since inception, the Home Run Challenge has raised more than $51 million for PCF, the world’s leading philanthropic organization funding and accelerating prostate cancer research.

Founded in 1993, Prostate Cancer Foundation has funded nearly $800 million of cutting-edge research by 2,200 scientists at 220 leading cancer centers in 22 countries around the world. Because of PCF’s commitment to ending death and suffering from prostate cancer, the death rate is down more than 52% and 1.5 million men are alive today as a result. PCF research now impacts 67 forms of human cancer by focusing on immunotherapy, the microbiome, and food as medicine. Learn more at pcf.org.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook .