Nick Adenhart: Remembering a Career and Life Cut Short

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Nick Adenhart: Remembering a Career and Life Cut Short
(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

For me, this will be one of those days that I will remember—much like Joe Girardi’s 2002 announcement at Wrigley Field on Saturday June 22 announcing to the public the tragic death of St. Louis pitcher Darryl Kile.

Kile was found dead in his hotel room due to an apparent heart attack, which forced the FOX game of the week between the Cardinals and Chicago Cubs to be postponed. Sitting at home on the couch watching the Cub's catcher is something I will never forget.

Again on April 9 2009, I was discouraged by the news I received on my way for a weekend home from school. I turned on the radio in preparation to listen to the Red Sox game when I heard the unfortunate news.

A fatal car crash took the life of Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher Nick Adenhart hours after undoubtedly the best performance of his brief Major League career.

The 22-year-old was a victim of an automobile accident where a driver of a minivan ran a red light while under the influence of alcohol.  The drunk driver hit the car that Adenhart was in, propelling the helpless car into a light pole.

The driver of the minivan fled from the scene on foot, but was later apprehended by police. The driver of the vehicle who was later identified as Andrew Thomas Gallo who has had a history of driving under the influence.

Although he had only appeared and started in four games in his very young career, the 6’3" right hander, who was drafted in the 14th round of the 2004 draft, entered the 2009 season as the Angels top prospect according to Baseball America.

Due to his stellar performance during the spring, many Angels brass thought he was ready to step up as the replacement for Jon Garland as the No. 3 in the rotation.

During the press conference that the Angels held with the jersey of Adenhart draping on the dais, Adenhart’s agent Scott Boras spoke emotionally about his former client.

“He was a great kid. His life goal was to be a big league baseball player. He'd summoned his father [on Tuesday], telling him 'You better come [to Wednesday's game]. Something special's going to happen," said Boras.

Adenhart threw six shutout innings against the Oakland Athletics with five strike outs that Wednesday night.

Less than three hours later, Nick Adenhart was gone from this world.

The worst part of this story is that he had so much promise, hope, and potential.

Adenhart was not involved in any foul play. He had not overdosed on drugs or was under the influence of alcohol. He was not speeding. He wasn’t the one who ran through the red light.

All he was doing was driving by the rules. He was just doing everything right and in the end, still lost.

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