Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart died in a car accident three years ago. (Spencer Weiner / Los Angeles…)
Minneapolis — The third anniversary of Nick Adenhart’s death passed quietly Monday with no team-wide commemoration of the promising young Angels pitcher who was killed along with friends Henry Pearson and Courtney Stewart when their car was struck by a drunk driver at a Fullerton intersection on April 9, 2009.
But Adenhart and members of his family were definitely on the minds of many Angels players, coaches and front-office officials before Monday’s game against the Minnesota Twins in Target Field.
“This is a tough day for us,” said catcher Bobby Wilson, who was one of Adenhart’s closest friends and has kept in close contact with Nick’s half-brother, Henry Gigeous; his mother, Janet Gigeous; and his stepfather, Duane Gigeous.
“I’ll be calling them in a little bit just to make sure they know I’m thinking of them, praying for them. We’ll send them flowers like we do on Nick’s birthday and on Mother’s Day.”
Angels ace Jered Weaver says a little prayer for Adenhart before he begins his pregame stretching and throwing routine, and he still carves Adenhart’s initials in the back of the mound before every start.
“I’m hoping he’s watching and that he can help me get through the game,” said Weaver, who was preparing to move Adenhart into his Long Beach home the week the 22-year-old right-hander was killed. “It’s like he’s out there with me.
“It’s still in the back of my mind what a great guy he was, and I’m sure his family is still grieving. There are still days when you can’t help but think about it.”
Angels pitching coach Mike Butcher and Tim Mead, the team’s vice president of communications, both exchanged emails with Jim Adenhart, Nick’s father.
“Suffice it to say,” Mead said, “it will be a day the organization and fans will remember in their own way.”
Adenhart was killed just hours after throwing six scoreless innings against the Oakland Athletics in his fourth major league start.
Andrew Thomas Gallo, the 23-year-old whose blood-alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit for driving at the time of the crash, was convicted of murder in September 2010 and sentenced to 51 years in prison.
Wilson sent out a message via Twitter on Monday urging people not to drink and drive.
“You have to be smart, you have to be aware that drinking and driving is not a good idea,” Wilson said. “You can take someone’s life, the lives of three people, if you don’t make the decision to get a taxi or a designated driver.”