Friday, April 10, 2009

Tragedy Strikes the Angels

Nick Adenhart of the Los Angeles Angels baseball team.

Tim Bogar didn't know Nick Adenhart well, but in July 2006 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Adenhart was on the roster of the US Futures team for which Bogar coached. So when he heard of Adenhart's death yesterday morning in a hit-and-run car crash in Fullerton, Calif., a couple of hours after the 22-year-old Angels righthander had shut out the A's for six innings, it evoked myriad emotions.

Not only did he feel for Adenhart, his family, and the two other passengers who were killed, but the tragedy conjured memories of two former teammates Bogar considered close friends who died all too young.

"Darryl Kile and Ken Caminiti were very close friends of mine," said Bogar, the Red Sox first base coach, whose major league career brought him to Houston from 1997-2000. It was there he met Caminiti, who was into his second tour of duty with the Astros. It was also there where during the 1997 season he befriended Kile and remained close to him until his death June 22, 2002 from coronary disease.

Another Cardinals and Red Sox farmhand, Josh Hancock, died in a car accident April 29, 2007, while drinking and talking on his cellphone.

"When I heard about Nick, you know, you just start thinking about things and, really, the wonderful things about Darryl and Ken that kind of pop into your head. But at the same time, it's just very difficult to think that they're no longer with us and [neither is] Nick Adenhart, obviously a wonderful kid and a very talented kid who was up in the big leagues at age 22, and the world of potential he had. It's just devastating."

Bogar didn't know Adenhart well mostly because his job was to work with infielders. Adenhart spent his time with the pitching coaches on the Futures squad.

"Everyone spoke so highly of him. A kid from a nice family who was rising fast and had all the tools," said Bogar. "Obviously, he's in the Angels' starting rotation at a young age, so you know what kind of ability he must have had and how far he'd come."

And so the trip out West for the Sox was quite emotional.

"It'll be tough," said Brad Penny, who pitched for the Dodgers last year. "But not as tough as it is for that family right now. My heart goes out for them. What a tragedy."

The Red Sox had observed a moment of silence before the game in memory of Adenhart.

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