A Major Debut

Tommy Nance ’14 made his MLB debut almost seven years to the day since his father was diagnosed with ALS.

Tommy Nance ’14 Chicago Cubs. Photo by Getty
In July 2021, the Chicago Cubs
optioned Tommy Nance ’14 to their Triple-A affiliate, the Iowa Cubs. Photo courtesy Getty.

There was some kind of kismet at work when Tommy Nance ’14 made his MLB debut.

Since going out of SCU undrafted, Nance had pitched in the minors for six years before being called up to the Chicago Cubs on May 17, 2021, at the age of 30. It was almost seven years to the day since his father, Mark, was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, named for the famous New York Yankee.

Mark was able to be present for his son’s first several games, including the Cubs’ 6-1 win over the San Diego Padres on June 2, Major League Baseball’s first-ever Lou Gehrig’s Day. That particular date was selected to raise funds and awareness for ALS because it marked Gehrig’s first in a 2,130-game streak.

Speaking to MLB.com about what it meant to have his father see him play in the majors on a day raising awareness for the disease he’s fighting, Nance says it was his dad who’s modeled the art of never giving up. “He’s always wanted me to pursue my dreams.”

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