In their first home game since that tragic July 1 night in Texas, the Angels honoured their lost teammate Tyler Skaggs. All 25 players wore Skaggs’ jersey. Skaggs’ mother, Debbie, threw out the ceremonial first pitch following a touching in memoriam ceremony. Mike Trout hit a home run in his first at bat. And the icing on the cake: Taylor Cole and Felix Peña threw a combined no-hitter against the Mariners.
On July 1, while visiting the Texas Rangers, Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs was found unresponsive in his hotel room. Cause of death has not been released, although suicide and foul play have been ruled out. In the aftermath, Skaggs’ colleagues were rocked. Around the league, players spoke out about how much they would miss him. Giancarlo Stanton gave the Angels some advice on his Instagram, having experienced the loss of a teammate in 2016.
Patrick Corbin of the Nationals, Skaggs’ best friend, was granted permission to wear Skaggs’ number 45 in his start on July 2. The Angels’ July 2 game against the Rangers was cancelled. They held a press conference following the July 3 game, all of them emotional. The Rangers had a moment of silence before the July 3 game in memory of Tyler Skaggs. Mike Trout and Tommy La Stella, the Angels’ representatives at the All-Star Game this past week, both wore #45.
Angels Honour Tyler Skaggs
On July 12, the Angels had their first home game since their teammate’s passing. They started the night off with a ceremony honouring their teammate, which was capped by a ceremonial first pitch (strike) by Debbie Skaggs, Tyler’s mom. Mike Trout hit a 454-ft homer in his first at-bat of the evening. And things got weird as the night wore on, in a way that only baseball can achieve. Taylor Cole and Felix Peña threw a combined no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners. The Angels scored 13 runs. A touching tribute to their fallen friend as the Angels honour Tyler Skaggs.
However, it gets baseball-y when you consider the following, tweeted by the account @StatsBySTATS: “The @Angels paid tribute to Tyler Skaggs by throwing a combined no-hitter against the Mariners in Anaheim. The last time there was a combined no-hitter in the state of California? Orioles-A’s in Oakland on July 13, 1991 – the same day Tyler Skaggs was born.” Baseball. To cap the night, all the Angels laid their jerseys on the pitching mound after the close of the game.
Other stats from last night’s game connected to Skaggs:
Mike Trout’s home run was 454 feet: 45 forwards and backwards.
Skaggs wore #11 in high school. That was the Angels 11th no hitter in team history.
Angels scored 7 runs in the first inning. 13 total. Today is his birthday on 7/13.
Also in the house last night, as a member of the visiting Mariners, was former Marlin Dee Gordon. Yes, THAT Dee Gordon. Best friend of Jose Fernandez, who died tragically in 2016. The same player who, in his first at-bat after his friend’s death, hit an unlikely homer. In honour of his friend, Gordon, a right-handed hitter, turned around for the first pitch to bat lefty, since Fernandez was a left-handed hitter. The next pitch, Gordon returned to the right side of the plate and blasted a solo shot, one of only two home runs he would hit that season.
Following the game, Dee Gordon had one thing to say: “I got one thing to say and I said it 3 years ago and I’m going be done with it. If you don’t believe in God, you might want to start. I said it three years ago when I hit the homer for Jose. They had a no-hitter today. Y’all better start. That’s all I got.”
Written by Susannah Schmidt
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Photo credit to Los Angeles Angels via Twitter