A Brother’s Love



Most fans around Major League Baseball who have heard the name “Eckstein” in the past automatically put the face of young Energizer bunny David Eckstein in minds. But there is another Eckstein brother who’s name currently has the MLB community buzzing about him.

I decided on this Day Five of my “all charity week” to post a story about Rick Eckstein, who is the current Nationals hitting coach. During the 2010 off season, Eckstein did something I find so unselfish and phenominal that it is almost beyond words.

There is also a third brother in the Eckstein clan, older brother Ken, who was advised during the 2010 MLB season that he would need an additional kidney transplant. Both  David and Rick instantly took the necessary tests to see if they were a compatible match for their older sibling, and Rick’s test came back as a perfect match. In a totally selfless act, Rick then decided to donate one of his own kidneys to help save his brother’s life.

This would be Ken’s second kidney transplant after his initial transplant back in 1991 from an anonymous donor, Thatorgan was harvested from an elderly donor and his aged kidney suddenly began to deteriorate putting Ken on a dialysis machine.

Late in the 2010 season Rick informed Washington General Manager Mike Rizzo and Nationals Manager Jim Riggelman of his transplant intentions, and was met with a hearty bond of encouragement and  support from the Nationals organization.

The initial prognosis has Rick possibly be back teaching hitting techniques within a weeks time baring any complications.

Kidney disease seems to run deep in the Eckstein families genetics as Father Whitey, plus sisters Christine and Susan also have had to endure kidney transplants in the past. All three are currently doing fine, with Christine hoping to be by her older brother Ken’s side as he goes through this second transplant.

So far, Rick and his free agent younger brother David have not shown signs of kidney related problems. But it is an on-going process of testing and regulating their diet to try and keep the effects from providing the same results. 

Even before they proceeded with this second operation, both Rick and Kento make a public plea to make sure the public was aware of the importance of being a organ donor. This highly stressful event in the Eckstein family has emerged positive results, but some families do not have the resources or family compatible organ matches to facilitate a positive result. But giving unselfishly just seems to run in the Eckstein family.

Thumbnail image for ecksteinfamily-575x488.jpgTheir mother Patricia donated one of her own kidneys to her daughter Susan. And a family friend donated his kidney to Whitey. Christine got her transplanted kidney via the Florida organ donors program. This is a family that has been firmly touched by a health situation in such a way that words can not express the feeling or pain of the overall journey, but the outcome has been positive and provided a lengthening of life for both the family and their community.

I want to commend Rick for his selfless act and one day I hope to shake his hand on an MLB sideline and tell him to his face what a heroci act that he performed for his brother. It is one thing to give of yourself donating your time and effort towards a cause, but to do something of this magnitude for a family member and also help raise awareness is inspiring and will have me check the box for organ donation on my Florida driver’s license when I renew this May.

I want to end with a quote older Eckstein brothert Ken told to MLBlogger Bill Ladson, who writes the blog “All Nats All the Time” before his second operation:

“I would love to have a cure, but I think the first step is getting the word out about organ donations. My sister gave me a statistic that 12 people are added to the National donor list every day-and 18 die each day. There are a million people on that list. So my first thing is, if everyone could give a kidney, we wouldn’t have a list.”


Second photo is obtained from the Orlando Sentinel. for some reason it would not let me pop the credit under the photo today.



The organ donation process is definitely a selfless act, even between siblings. I have 3 brothers and there is only 1 I would be there with that kind of donation, hence the reason arbitrary organ donation is not my thing, I would have to know for sure the destination would not waste the opportunity.
Like you say, Eckstein, is definitely a selfless man and I would be proud to shake his hand.


Phillies Outside

Honestly, I can say I would dive on a grenade for my two girls. If they needed something medically, I would sell a kidney to get them the right treatment or action.
Rick Eckstein did an amazing thing knowing his family’s medical history.
Who is to say he will not needthe same in the future….He rolled the dice.
I will shake his hand…some day…I think I got another thing-to-do for my bucket list.

Rays Renegade

I read about this story earlier today and was so touched by it. It’s a tough situation to have all that family history of kidney disease, but Rick Eckstein really stepped up big time.


I have been holding onto this story for about a month. Heard about it through a friend in DC, then started to see some action in the Orlando Sentinel about it.
I agree totally Rick Eckstein should get the “Brother of the Year Award for 2011….and we still have 10 months to go.

Rays Renegade

That is an amazing story. Living here in the Washington DC area (but a Phillies fan) you don’t hear many positive stories about the Nats or the organization. If I get a chance to meet up with Eckstein at the park at all this year, I will gladly let him know what an inspiration he is to every one and that if I am ever in a similar position, I hope to be as unselfish and courageous as he is.

Phabulous Phillies Phun

If each of us could even take a small sliver of that commitment and deciation to a cause….This would be a different World.
I know familes go through this same decision daily. Maybe the exposure of this because of MLB ties will make it more aware and translate into something really positive.

Rays Renegade

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