Spotlight: Nick Adenhart

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

In this spotlight piece, we’re going to look back on the life of Nick Adenhart. He was a former MLB pitcher before he was killed at a young age.

Adenhart was a talented prospect at Williamsport High School in Williamsport, Maryland until his final game of his high school journey as he suffered an injury that required him to undergo Tommy John surgery. The injury caused Adenhart to fall in the draft, before eventually being drafted by the Angels in the 14th round of the 2004 Major League Baseball Draft.

Former Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart throws a pitch against the Oakland Athletics
Nick Adenhart throws a pitch against the Oakland Athletics (Getty Images)

After several seasons in the minor leagues, Adenhart made his Major League Baseball debut on May 1, 2008. He appeared in three games during his first season with the Angels.

In his MLB debut, he went just two innings in a 15-8 loss to the Oakland Athletics. He allowed five runs (five earned runs) on three hits against the Athletics.

Adenhart received a no-decision on May 6, 2008, as he went 4 1/3 innings in a 5-3 win over the Kansas City Royals. He allowed three runs (three earned runs) in the win.

In his final game of the 2008 season on May 12, 2008, he also recovered his only career win against the Chicago White Sox. He allowed four runs (4 earned runs) in 5 2/3 innings in a 10-7 win.

Following the win over the White Sox, Adenhart moved back to the Triple A level with the Salt Lake Bees.

He made the starting rotation of the Angels for the 2009 season. He made his season debut on April 8, 2009, but received a no-decision as he allowed seven hits and no runs in six innings against the Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.

A short-time after making the start against the Athletics, he was killed in a car accident in Fullerton, California. The accident happened at the intersection of Orangethrope Avenue and Lemon Street.

Adenhart was a passenger in a Mitsubishi Eclipse that was hit by a Toyota Sienna minivan that ran a red light, according to the authorities. Courtney Stewart and Henry Pearson, who were also in the Eclipse at the time of the accident, also passed away at the scene.

Jon Wilhite was the only survivor of the crash. A report said that Wilhite initially suffered an internal decapitation, but he underwent surgery to reattach his skull to his spine.

The driver of the minivan left the scene. But the authorities were able to identify the person of interest and arrest Andrew Thomas Gallo. He 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 and causing injury and death.

At the time of the crash, Gallo had a blood alcohol level of 0.19 several hours after the crash. In addition, at the time of the accident, he was driving with a suspended license.

His charges were later downgraded from first-degree murder to second-degree murder. He also faced two counts of driving under the influence causing greatly bodily injury and one felony count of hit-and-run.

Gallo was sentenced to 51-years-to-life in jail.

Following his death, the Angels give their Pitcher of the Year the Nick Adenhart Award. Also, Adenhart’s bronze statue is on display in the Angels trophy case.

The family also created the Nick Adenhart Memorial Fund. This fund is used to financially help youth baseball programs. The goal is to help struggling programs around the country.

The Cedar Rapids Kernels retired his No. 21 jersey. In addition, the Kernels, the Kernels Foundation, and the Adenhart family give a yearly $1,000 scholarship in the name of Nick Adenhart Memorial Scholarship.

In Halfway, Maryland, where Adenhart played Little League Baseball, the field is now named Nicholas James Adenhart Memorial Field.

Adenhart is buried at Greenlawn Cemetery in Williamsport, Maryland.

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