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McGehees team up to start, finish win

McGehee reflects on an emotional day

MILWAUKEE -- Casey McGehee's son provided the proper start. Dad delivered the finish.

McGehee came off the Brewers' bench and delivered a go-ahead, two-run home run in the sixth inning of a much-needed, 7-5 win over the Nationals on Wednesday at Miller Park. He went deep a few hours after two-year-old Mackail McGehee -- "He would say he's 'two-point-five,'" dad says -- threw the ceremonial first pitch.

Mackail has cerebral palsy (CP), a brain disorder that will be with him for the rest of his life. He was on hand to highlight an initiative by a group of Brewers wives that raised $50,000 for United Cerebral Palsy, an organization that, according to its Web site, serves more than 176,000 children and adults with disabilities every day.

"As a father, that's going to me a moment I remember for a long time," said the elder McGehee, fighting back tears. "He's something special. To go through what he's going through and to keep on plugging, no one even notices he has anything wrong with him most of the time.

"He's been a big inspiration to me. The way some of the guys have taken to him is really special. If you would have asked me a few years ago if I would even be on a big league field, let alone be able to share it with my son in any way, shape or form, I was pretty lucky to have that happen."

Mackail -- Casey and Sarah McGehee usually call their son, "Mack" -- suffered brain damage either in the womb or during childbirth, Casey said, but, "we've been really fortunate that there have been no signs of doing anything to his cognitive ability. As far as his speech and his understanding, he's way ahead of the curve. He has a tough time walking around on his own, but he's getting better."

Mack's good buddy Prince Fielder helped in that department. He walked young Mack onto the field while dad settled behind the plate to receive the first pitch. Two of the New Berlin, Wis., therapists who work with Mack each week were also on hand.

Mackail stayed at Miller Park for dad's clutch hit, which helped the Brewers win for just the eighth time in 24 games this month and remain four games behind the National League Central-leading Cubs. He went home after the game but spoke with dad via telephone.

"Good hit, daddy!" Mack said.

"That was about as good a, 'congratulations,' as I could get," Casey said. "You can't help but smile when you see him. He makes the bad days a little easier and the good days that much better. You just can't help smiling when you see how he reacts. As young as he is, he gets it a little bit."

The Brewers plucked McGehee off waivers from the Cubs last October, so he and Sarah spent the winter meeting their new teammates. Among them were Jeff Suppan and his wife, Dana, who came up with the idea to use the Brewers Wives' jersey raffle, plus a donation from principal owner Mark Attanasio and his wife, Debbie, as a fundraiser for CP.

"I think that's part of the reason why this team is going to be good," McGehee said. "Here I am, the newcomer, and from the first day of Spring Training, everybody made me feel welcome. Someone told me at the Winter Warm-Up, 'Welcome to the family.' For everyone to be so supporting of my family, it shows why this team may be a little down right now, but we're definitely not done."

Mack usually attends every Brewers home game. He'll also be along when the Brewers travel to San Diego and Los Angeles beginning Friday. Casey McGehee is a Santa Cruz, Calif., native.

Perhaps dad will have a few more clutch hits in store.

"I play for him every time I walk out there," McGehee said. "When it's all said and done, I hope he can look back and be proud of the way his dad went about his business. I feel like I'm going out there setting an example for him every time I'm out there, whether he's a weatherman, in baseball, or whatever it is that he does."

Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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