Thursday, April 09, 2009

For Nick Adenhart

This was written by a man I know who runs the most influential amateur baseball scouting organization in the country. I post it here because I know he would want me to.

I just can't quite wrap my mind around the fact this young man died last night in a car wreck, murdered, apparently, by a drunk hit-and-run driver. I speak regularly with his step-dad, and we share developments about our sons. For several years I have heard first hand of Nick's progress through Tommy John Elbow surgery, rehab, and rise through the minors and sitting at the cusp of MLB.

Last year they hoped he would stay on the Angels MLB roster. But he was called up early in the year for three starts, then sent back down. And he had a horrrible year at the AAA level last summer.

But they knew he was a top prospect. He had a great spring training this year, and the Angels not only kept him on the opening day roster, but they put him in the starting rotation.

And so his first start was last night. He went six scoreless innings. Hours later, he was dead. Horrible. I cannot imagine what Janet and Duane are going through, and I hope I never learn.

Nick Adenhart, By Jerry Ford

Nick Adenhart was born August 24th, 1986. He left us this morning April 9th, 2009.

The brightest of futures cut short by a reckless driver. One of the best young men we have ever met, a great example for young kids taken from this world at the age of 22.

We loved Nick Adenhart! Our prayers go out to his entire family and the many others who were part of Nick Adenhart’s life.

Looking Back In 2003 we saw a young high school pitcher from Maryland throw in Jupiter, Fla. at the PG WWBA Championship. There had to be more than 100 scouts watching the game which was played on the furthest field in the complex. Nick was pitching for the All Star Baseball Academy against Eric Hurley that day. Two of the top pitching prospects in the country going head to head. Both were in the 2003 Aflac Game for the East team. We went on to rank Nick our #1 prospect in the 2004 class.

Then in the spring high school season of 2004, Nick suffered a serious arm injury shortly before the draft and underwent Tommy John surgery. A sure first round pick before the injury, he ended up going in the 14th round where the Angels selected him. Nick still ended up signing as the Angels paid him according to his skill even though he would have to rehab for the first year. Hurley ended up being drafted by the Royals in the first round.

Nick Adenhart was 94 mph that day in Jupiter and showed three plus pitches with great command. Hurley also threw well topping out at 93 mph. Later Nick played across the street from Perfect Game headquarters with the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Angels A League team). He was on the fast track to the Big Leagues. His dad would stop and visit with us every time he came to town. Nick was a great example of just how talent, persistence and class can be combined in one person.

Of course Nick did end up pitching in the Major Leagues for the Angels. In fact, he pitched his very last game last night. He threw 6 shutout innings against the Oakland A’s. One of the few hits Nick gave up was to Ryan Sweeney who grew up right here at Perfect Game. We were expecting greatness for Nick Adenhart because he was so talented and such a great example for baseball.

Then came the gut wrenching news that Nick Adenhart is no longer with us. He died in a car accident last night. Hit and run broadside! Once again, a stark reminder that there are many more important things than baseball.

It is impossible to type this with dry eyes. It’s a very sad day! Opening night at the ballpark tonight. I’m supposed to throw out the first pitch. The ballpark is now named Perfect Game Field.

Supposed to be a happy occasion. Not now! There are things that are so much more important. Sure there will be a moment of silence. That just doesn’t seem like anywhere near enough. Who cares about baseball at a time like this? Yesterday we lost our battle to try to keep the University of Northern Iowa baseball program from being dropped. That doesn’t seem to be as important today.

Please pray for Nick Adenhart and his family.


Anonymous said...

What a heartbraking story!

God bless the Angels, Nick's Family, and mosst of all, Nick Adenhart!

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