Nick Adenhart: A Tribute

Andrew NasonContributor IOctober 20, 2009

ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 28:  Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim players douse the jersey of teammate pitcher Nick Adenhart #34 in beer and champagne as they celebrate after winning the American League West title in the baseball game against the Texas Rangers at Angel Stadium on September 28, 2009 in Anaheim, California. Adenhart was killed in a accident by an alleged drunk driver during the beginning of the season.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Nick Adenhart is happy.

The casual fan thinks of him just as a mere adequate pitching prospect who met a tragic death along with two of his fellow buddies in the early morning on April 9.

But Nick is way more than that.

"Nick Adenhart should be here celebrating with us, but the Good Lord took him...Now, we're just celebrating in his name. He's a very important part of the team. We're playing hard for him. Trust me, he's here in spirit and love. We're going to try to bring his ring back home for him and give it to his parents," says Angels center fielder and eight-time Gold Glove Award winner Torii Hunter.

For the Angels, life has gone on as if Adenhart was still there.

They wash his jersey and hang it up. Knowing very well that nobody will wear it.

They wear his number on their jerseys.

They reserve a locker for him everywhere they go.

They doused his jersey in bubbly when they won the AL West. As if telling Nick not to celebrate in the sky, just yet.

The Angels are trying not to win a championship for themselves, but for that adaquate pitching prospect who fell victim to a drunk driver.

Little League Baseball has renamed the field where Adenhart played as a child in Halfway, Maryland; Nicholas James Adenhart Memorial Field in his honor.

I truly hope that as a way of ending the season-long memorial, Nick Adenhart's No. 34 is retired in his honor.

It truly will be a way of remembering Nicolas James Adenhart. As a friend and as a hero, rather than an adaquate pitching prospect.

Thanks Nick. We love you.