Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rowe's first pitch on Tuesday meant more than you might think

This took me a little while to get to, but I think it’s a story Knights – and Charlotte O’s fans – would appreciate.

When Tommy Rowe got the invitation to come to BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte for the O’s reunion, he had no idea what he was getting into.

Two days before the reunion, he began the drive from New York to the Queen City with his wife, Nicole, and two kids, Alex and Jordan.  

I’ll try to let Rowe tell the rest…

“I can’t even begin to describe it,” said Rowe, who was a member of the O’s from 1979-1980 and again in 1982.. “It was what should have been a 10 and a half hour trip, but it probably wound up taking about 15 or 16 hours.

“It was literally 1:00 in the morning on a dark road (in Virginia) and my wife is in excruciating pain. Unbearable. She couldn’t take it anymore. I started saying, ‘Can you make it to Charlotte?’ Because I know they have big hospitals there, but she couldn’t.”

At the time, Rowe believed his wife was suffering from her fourth bout of pancreatitis in the past three months.

“At that point, I just picked up my phone and looked up the nearest hospital and pulled off the highway,” he said. “We then got lost, because it wasn’t where it said it was. (Nicole) was crying and I’ve got my two little kids, who are seven and 11 years old in the back, trying to sleep.

“Finally, we find an ER and I get her inside and I’m running back and forth between my two kids and her. Eventually, she told me to go and take the kids and get them to Charlotte and into bed.”

So that’s what Rowe did. Meanwhile, Nicole, after being stabilized, was transferred to Carolina’s Medical Center in Charlotte.

“There she had emergency surgery,” continued Rowe. “We have, unfortunately, been to every major hospital in New York, and (CMC Main) ranks right up there with any of them. There were the most incredible, friendly, people there and they might have actually found something that was being overlooked before. They might have helped save her life.”

Of course, Nicole wound up missing the Charlotte O’s reunion while she recovered in the hospital and was heartbroken.

Upon hearing about Rowe’s situation, the Charlotte Knights offered to do something special for the family.

“The Knights gave us a personal tour and then invited me to throw out the first pitch (Tuesday),” said Rowe. “I can’t thank them enough; they’ve made this trip, something special for my wife, because now she feels like she’s a part of it. She’s so happy. She was devastated she missed all the reunion festivities.”

Rowe said that seeing his old teammates and the Crockett family was an incredible help.
“I got to the hotel and was there with everyone to take the shuttle over to (BB&T Ballpark), but my head was half there,” he said. “At that point, (Nicole) was still in Virginia in a hospital and we didn’t know what was going on.

“Everyone was there for me,” Rowe continued. “They offered to watch the kids, they went to see Nicole for me. Between that and what the Charlotte Knights have done for me, it’s just been unbelievable.”

During his playing days, Rowe was famous for his curveball. It was difficult to tell if that's what he threw out on Tuesday. Either way, it was one of the more impressive tosses BB&T Ballpark has seen. 


Anonymous said...

That was a FUN night for this Orioles fan from the Baltimore-Washington area and I didn't even care about the rainout (I wasn't there for the game anyway). Got nearly a dozen autographs on my orange Charlotte O's t-shirt I bought at the old ballpark. Got Sammy Stewart to sign a game ticket stub from his MLB debut in September 1978 when he struck out 7 consecutive White Sox that became an MLB debut record.

Anonymous said...

Did he happen to mention his son Nick?