For some reason, April 9th always sticks out to me. On this day nine years ago, a young baseball player lost his life because of a drunk driver.
Nick Adenhart was just 22 years old (or years young) when he lost his life just hours after starting the previous night’s game for the Los Angeles Angels. He earned a no-decision, giving up seven hits and no runs, striking out five, and walking three in six innings against the Oakland A’s.
He was a passenger in the car that was struck and died as a result of his injuries later at the hospital. Two other individuals in the car Adenhart was in died as well. The drunk driver, Andrew Gallo, was charged with three counts of murder, one count of felony hit-and-run, driving under the influence and causing injury, and driving with a .08 percent blood alcohol or higher (his BAC was .19).
In December of 2010, Gallo was convicted on three counts of second-degree murder, two counts of driving under the influence causing great bodily injury, and one felony count of hit-and-run. He sentenced to 51 years in prison.
I remember watching ESPN and seeing the news coverage of his death. His was the first baseball player death that I experienced, and only a handful of years later, we’d all experience the loss of Jose Fernandez, Yordano Ventura, and Andy Marte.
Memorials popped up after Adenhart’s death, including one outside of Angels Stadium. For the 2009 season, the players wore a patch with his number, 34, his locker in the clubhouse was left as is, a locker was dedicated to him on the road, and the team hung his jersey in the dugout. Jered Weaver, pitcher for the Angels, named his son, Aden, after Adenhart.
This tweet was posted on April 2, and it became a “I’m not crying, you’re crying” situation. That little boy will never get to meet the man he’s named after.
There are two songs that I associate with Nick, probably because they were played around his loss and in any video montages: “Halo” by Beyonce and “Calling All Angels” by Train. They’re fitting since he played for the Angels, and he still has his halo as their guardian angel.
Everywhere I’m looking now
I’m surrounded by your embrace
Baby, I can see your halo
You know you’re my saving grace