A few weeks ago, the baseball world was left shocked and saddened by the unfortunate news of Tyler Skaggs’ passing. The 27-year-old Los Angeles Angels pitcher was found in a hotel room prior to a game against the Texas Rangers, and immediately, the entire sports world began to mourn for the young man and his family.
It’s incredible how in the toughest times, people of all backgrounds always seem to find a way to come together. Skaggs’ family, teammates and fans did just that on Friday night, when the Angels honored No. 45 in a tribute game that featured the young man’s mother throwing out the first pitch. It was right down the middle, and from that moment on, we should have known something special was about to happen.
His memory will never be lost, and this moment will never be forgotten. Just like so many other tragic incidents that have happened in our nation’s past, this is yet another instance for humans to prove how strong they can be for the ones around them that don’t possess the same strength. In addition to the Angels’ magical performance, there have been countless other heroic tributes in sports history that remind us all how precious life can be and how influential sports can be in the toughest times. Here are the five most memorable tributes in sports history.
Real-Life Angels in the Outfield
As mentioned above, the game began with a series of honorable exchanges. First, the Angels’ players all decided to wear the No. 45 to honor the late pitcher in the team’s first home game since his passing. Then, they carried out a framed jersey to the mound to be presented to Skaggs’ family. It was placed on an easel behind the mound. In addition, there was a custom-painted #45 in the dirt behind the mound, as well. After a 45-second moment of silence to honor the young man, it was time for the first pitch.
Tyler’s mom, Debbie Skaggs, proceeded to walk out to the mound with a baseball, and she looked like she meant business right from the start. Prior to throwing the pitch to Tyler’s teammate and good friend, Andrew Heaney, she drew his number in the dirt behind the mound. It didn’t take long for her to wind up and rifle a strike right down the middle, which should have been the first sign that it was going to be a special night.
It started off perfectly, as Mike Trout stepped up to the plate in his first at bat, ready to honor his teammate. Of course, the MVP also wore Skaggs’ No. 45 during the All-Star Game on Tuesday, but this time, the whole team had it on. Trout did his best to make the night one to remember, so he decided to take the first pitch he saw more than 450 feet into the bleachers for an early home run that set the tone for what would become one of the most memorable nights in Angels franchise history.
Trout finished the game with a whopping six RBI’s in L.A.’s 13-0 win over the Mariners. Sure, a double-digit, shutout victory would have been plenty to make the night one to remember, but there was more. Pitchers Taylor Cole and Felix Pena combined to throw a no-hitter. I don’t know if any of you have seen the baseball classic, Angels in the Outfield, but last night was like a real-life version of that. I swear, Cristopher Lloyd was ready to pop out of the dugout at any moment.
A no-hitter seems like the perfect way to honor a former Major League pitcher. It’s one of the crowning achievements that any flamethrower can experience, and we’d like to think he was a big part of it. Oh, and the last combined no-hitter thrown in the state of California happened to occur on July 13, 1991 – the day Tyler Skaggs was born.
Click to Page 2 to read about a nation in unity and a legendary QB winning one for Dad.
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