I want to take this opportunity to talk about the late Tyler Skaggs, who passed away unexpectedly on Monday in the Angels’ hotel during a road trip to Texas.
Skaggs first came to my attention as a member of the Diamondbacks. He found his place in the Angels organization, where his cheerful attitude and relentless thirst for knowledge was noted by people from managers to other players. He grew close with Jered Weaver, who became his mentor (and if you have to pick a modern day Angel to model yourself after, the Dream Weaver is a good one to pick, in my opinion).
Possessing an absolutely beautiful curveball, Skaggs was beginning to find success on the diamond, and his year-to-date stats were good. He pitched two days ago, a loss against Oakland.
As of this writing, the only thing known about Skaggs’ death was that he was found dead in his hotel room and no foul play is suspected.
The Angels have had the worst luck of any baseball franchise that I can think of. One of their most promising players was murdered decades ago in a drive by shooting. Then, in the last ten years, they’ve had three players pass away under tragic circumstances, not the least being Nick Adenhart, who was killed by a drunk driver after a start…against Oakland. And who was his closest friend on the Angels? Jered Weaver, who named his son after Adenhart.
My most sincere sympathies and love goes out to Angels fans – including our own Angels fans here at FI. As I always say, baseball is a family, and family supports each other.
3 thoughts on “Rest in Power, Tyler Skaggs”
Very nice tribute, Prof.
Oddly, I have not visited the Big A in a couple of months. I moved (I’m actually closer to the stadium now), and the related expenses have reduced my spending money. I’ve been thinking about it, though, so about 4PM Saturday I decided to go see Tyler Skaggs. He’d allowed only one earned run in his last two starts, so I showered, jumped on the bus and was in Uecker-ville (higher than your average pop fly) near third base. He was not sharp. It seamed like every at bat started 1-0. He was pulled in the fifth after 90 pitches. His relief gave up a first pitch homer; the last batter Tyler faces became his last earned run. Otherwise he would have escaped with only one run allowed. I had fun exchanging broken English with a family of Ohtani fans.
It’s sad whenever someone dies, and I work with seniors so we have to deal with loss far to often. It’s tragic when someone is so young. For Tyler Skagg, we mourn the life too short, and rightly so. But what a life! Baseball-reference counts Tyler as the 17,891st player in MLB. Cal State Fullerton (a good baseball school),only a couple of miles from Angels Stadium, has more enrolled students than that in the average semester. Tyler Skaggs is in a very exclusive club. I choose not to mourn the loss but to celebrate that life.
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Thought of you while I was writing this out, Angel. Amazing that you got to see his last start! Even if it’s wasn’t great, you were still a witness to history, even if you didn’t know it at the time.
I think I’ve talked about how Greg Maddux retiring changed my life, because I never got to see him pitch in person and I took it for granted that he’d always be around. You never think that one day he’s going to ride off into the sunset. The regret and sadness I had from not being able to see him in person guides my baseball watching now. If I absolutely love a guy, or even appreciate someone in a way, I try my hardest to see the guy live at least once. I’m thankful I decided to do this because I got to see Roy Halladay that way, and Zack Greinke; Justin Morneau, Joe Mauer, CC Sabathia, Mike Trout, and Tim Hudson. The people I never got to see wasn’t because I didn’t make the effort, but their starts were pushed back or they were on the injured list – looking at you, Jose Fernandez (RIP), Oswalt and Kershaw.
All this to say that we never know when it’s going to all disappear, so we might as well take the moments we can.