The Angels paid homage to the memory of late teammate Tyler Skaggs by taking the field Friday night at Angel Stadium wearing his name and number.
All players donned red home jerseys emblazoned with Skaggs’ name and the number 45, which he wore with the Angels since 2014.
The tribute to Skaggs was one of many by the Angels. They plastered his likeness around Angel Stadium, from “Tyler Skaggs, 1991-2019” signs on the LED ribbon boards to an image of him preparing to throw a pitch on the same spot on the center field wall that once bore a picture of Nick Adenhart, the Angels pitcher who died during the 2009 season.
The Angels also celebrated Skaggs’ life in a ceremony prior to playing Seattle in the first series since the All-Star break. Skaggs’ mother, Debbie, and his wife, Carli, stood on the field with his stepfather, Dan, and stepbrother Garret as the Angels played a minute-long tribute video and held a 45-second moment of silence. Debbie, the longtime Santa Monica High softball coach, threw a ceremonial first pitch to Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney for a strike.
“Guys will be become emotional again because it’s still very fresh,” said manager Brad Ausmus, who has been wearing a “Skaggs 45” patch on his warmup attire and jersey, along with the rest of the team. “It’s fine. We’re human beings. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I also think when the ceremony is done, everyone will be glad they were a part of it.”
Mike Trout and Tommy La Stella wore Skaggs’ 45 underneath the names on their jerseys during Tuesday’s All-Star game in Cleveland. MLB held a moment of silence in a pregame ceremony and also distributed No. 45 patches to the All-Stars.
Tributes to Skaggs were evident all over baseball following his death July 1 in a Texas hotel room. Washington Nationals pitcher Patrick Corbin, who like Trout was drafted by the Angels along with Skaggs in 2009, switched his number in Skaggs’ honor when he started the day after Skaggs died. Corbin came up with Skaggs in the Arizona organization, which traded for the left-handed pitchers in 2010. They both debuted in 2012.
Others around baseball memorialized Skaggs by etching his initials and number onto their hats and into the dirt on mounds. Teammate Andrew Heaney opened his first start after Skaggs’ death by throwing Skaggs’ signature curveball.
In Southern California, fans descended on Angel Stadium to build a shrine to Skaggs. They left inscriptions on Angels paraphernalia and deposited flowers, candles, teddy bears and posters. One sign featured a doctored image of Skaggs with angel wings and the words “God pulled you up to the Big Leagues, LTBU! Rest in Peace Tyler Skaggs #45.”
“I think our fans are extremely loyal and protective,” general manager Billy Eppler said. “If you put on the A and the halo, there’s a respect that comes from that within the community. People care about this team, about our players, so I’m not surprised by their reaction and their appreciation for Tyler.”
Skaggs’ presence also was felt in the Angels clubhouse. “We’re nasty,” a phrase Skaggs often said after Angels wins, was pasted on a sticker in large block letters above the wall-sized schedule in the room. Skaggs’ locker, last used June 30, was left untouched — and will remain so the rest of the season.
“When something tragic happens like that, when you’re around somebody so close, it’s tough,” infielder Zack Cozart said. “[Friday night’s] about him. We’re going to do everything we can.”