What might have been one of the most promising nights in the young life of
Adenhart, killed at age 22 by a hit-and-run driver while riding in a car after leaving Angel Stadium following his finest big-league game, was a thoughtful, dedicated young man with a full life and brilliant career ahead of him. His was the 64th death of an active major league player, all them tragic in 64 unique ways. His potential and his youthfulness make this death forever impactful upon the family of baseball.
At 22 Adenhart is among the youngest active big leaguers to die.
Adenhart was only just being formed as a big league star. He seemed born to the pitching mound as a teenager, when scouts flocked to see the kid from Maryland. He was going to be first-round pick -- until he underwent Tommy John surgery a month before the draft. The Angels, though, liked him so much that they took him in the 14th round, gave him second-round bonus money ($710,000) and were happy to wait for him to heal, knowing he was the kind of kid who would put in all the hard work to make it back as good as new.
Adenhart did not disappoint. He was in the big leagues last year at age 21. He was the Angels' best starting pitcher in spring training this year. He threw ground balls and showed command of a big curveball beyond his years. He had that polish that most 22-year-old pitchers are years from acquiring. His moment was now.
And now all of what Nick Adenhart was about to offer -- living his big-league dream, the success in his chosen craft, the pride from his family, from his home state of Maryland and his Angels baseball family -- is all gone in one horrifying moment.
Too many players have left us too soon. Just since 2002, we've lost