Bill Lyon took a few steps off the pitcher's mound at Citizens Bank Park Wednesday night, wound up his left arm, and tossed the ceremonial first pitch before the Phillies squared off against the the San Francisco Giants.
Lyon threw a strike to the Phillie Phanatic, and nary a boo was heard throughout the stadium.
It didn't matter where the ball landed on this night — Alzheimer’s Association Night at the South Philadelphia ballpark — in which the city paid tribute to the 78-year-old former Inquirer sports columnist.
Inquirer sports columnist Bill Lyon throwing out first pitch at Phillies game. Lyon is bravely battling Alzheimer's. pic.twitter.com/eagQso2ok1
— Aaron Bracy (@Aaron_Bracy) August 3, 2016
— Marc Narducci (@sjnard) August 3, 2016
— Amy Wilen Buckman (@AmyWBuckman) August 3, 2016
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) August 3, 2016
— PMN (@PHLmedianetwork) August 3, 2016
Lyon, a seven-time winner of Pennsylvania Sportswriter of the Year, joined the newspaper in 1972 and retired in 2005. Over more than 30 years, he covered Super Bowls, World Series games, several Olympics, and was inducted in both the Philadelphia Sports and Pennsylvania Sports halls of fame.
Recently, he has again picked up his pen as a columnist emeritus, documenting his battle with Alzheimer's disease. His series details the raw truths of living with the disease, diagnosed three years ago.
“My hope is that the columns will be cathartic and perhaps be of some help to anyone else who’s going down this same long and winding road,” he wrote in the first installment.
Readers responded with a flood of letters, prompting Philadelphia Media Network — parent company of The Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com — to partner with the Delaware Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to orchestrate Lyon's honorarium at Citizens Bank Park.
Ten dollars from each ticket sold tonight will be donated to the Delaware Valley chapter.
Bill Lyon's battle with Alzheimer's:
And a bonus column from Lyon's doctor: Dr. Jason Karlawish: ‘So how does he do it?”