LEWISTON — When Dave Turcotte tosses the first pitch at Fenway Park on Friday, he will wear a custom baseball jersey with No. 34 on the back, the number of his favorite player and the number of years since he has thrown a baseball.

Turcotte, 52, was an all-star pitcher at Edward Little High School whose sports career was ended by multiple sclerosis in college, when he became paralyzed from the waist down.

He is a die-hard Boston Red Sox fan, and started warming up his arm again after friend and former classmate Dan Cunliffe II told Turcotte he would be throwing out the first pitch when the Red Sox face the Minnesota Twins.

Cunliffe redeemed Major League Baseball Extra Bases credit card rewards points for the experience as soon as he saw it offered online. He said he knew right away he would give it to Turcotte. The pair have tried to catch at least one game together at Fenway for years.

“It’s been 34 years since I’ve thrown a ball 60 feet, 6 inches (the distance from the pitcher’s mound to home plate),” Turcotte said. “I was very happy, of course. I was surprised, but he’s so generous.”

Cunliffe surprised him five years ago with Game 6 playoff tickets.


Turcotte’s hoping to run into his favorite player, David Ortiz. Tim Wakefield would be pretty great, too.

He and Cunliffe have tossed a baseball around outside to practice. Turcotte is up to about 20 feet.

“He can throw nice and straight,” Cunliffe said. “Nobody wants to throw a wild pitch and be embarrassed.”

Turcotte said he is “very rusty,” excited and nervous. He has heard from former classmates who will be at the game watching from the stands, and from people who plan to watch on TV.

“He’s very positive. Never a sourpuss, never down. Just Mr. Positive,” said Cunliffe, who threw out the first pitch at a Sox game about 10 years ago.

It is nerve-wracking to have all those eyes on you, he said. “I’m excited for him — he’s a great guy.”


Dave Turcotte of Lewiston at Fenway Park during Game 6 of the Boston Red Sox’s World Series run in 2013. Turcotte’s friend Dan Cunliffe II surprised Turcotte by telling him he would be throwing out the first pitch this Friday when the Sox host the Minnesota Twins. (Submitted photo)

Dave Turcotte of Lewiston practices his throw recently. A former all-star high school pitcher, Turcotte has not thrown a pitch in 34 years, since becoming paralyzed from the waist down from multiple sclerosis. His friend surprised him with the news that he will be tossing out the first pitch at Fenway Park on Friday, when the Sox host the Minnesota Twins. (Screenshot)

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