SEATTLE -- Nick Adenhart is constantly on Jered Weaver's mind. He doesn't need to look at his son, named after the late Angels pitcher, or wait on the five-year anniversary of Adenhart's tragic car accident to remember him.
"He's one of those guys that you'll never forget; you'll never want to not remember the way he was," said Weaver, who engraves Adenhart's initials on the back of the mound before every start. "He was a great kid, man. Fun. He just wanted to be around everybody, and he loved playing baseball. And he was one of the guys. It's tough."
Wednesday will mark five years since 22-year-old Adenhart, 20-year-old Courtney Stewart and 25-year-old Henry Pearson were killed in a car accident by a drunk driver hours after Adenhart threw six scoreless innings against the A's in his 2008 debut. A fourth passenger, Jon Wilhite, sustained critical injuries.
"He definitely had a bright future, that's for sure," Weaver said. "I think we saw what he was capable of doing in that last start against Oakland. He just started figuring it out."
Every spring for the past few years, one of the Angels' young pitchers makes his way around the clubhouse to collect money for the Nick Adenhart Memorial Fund, which provides financial support to non-profit youth baseball organizations. Most times they're able to collect somewhere between $7,000 and $9,000. This year, with Michael Morin doing the collecting, the Angels gathered somewhere between $10,000 and $12,000.
On July 5, Weaver named his son and first child Aden to honor Adenhart.
He'll wait for his son to ask before telling him about the significance of his name.
"If not, definitely high school or something like that," Weaver said. "He'll get the idea, maybe talking with his classmates or something. It'll come out eventually."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less