If you missed what happened in Anaheim on Friday night, you missed one of the great stories of the year.
On July 1, Angels’ pitcher Tyler Skaggs was found dead in his Southlake, TX hotel room, while the Angels were on the road to play the Texas Rangers.
On Friday night, 11 days after Skaggs tragic death, and on the night before what would have been Skaggs’ 28th birthday, the Angels honored their former pitcher before their first home game since his passing.
The pre-game ceremony began with Skaggs’ widow, his mother, stepfather and stepbrother coming onto the field. Skaggs’ mom, Debbie, then threw out the first pitch, tossing a strike to Skaggs’ best friend Andrew Haney.
Every Angels player wore Skaggs’ name and number 45 on their jerseys.
What happened over the next couple of hours played out like a Hollywood story. Angels’ pitchers Taylor Cole and Felix Pena combined to throw a no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners.
But wait, there’s more. Like several numerical oddities.
Angels’ hitters scored 7 runs in the first inning, and finished with 13 runs and 13 hits, in trouncing the Mariners 13-0. 7 and 13, to match Skaggs’ birthday on 7-13.
The last no-hitter thrown in California came on July 13, 1991, the same day on which Skaggs was born.
The no-hitter was the 11th in Angels’ franchise history. Skaggs wore number 11 at Santa Monica High School.
“You can’t make this stuff up,” said Skaggs’ close friend Mike Trout, who blasted a 454-foot home run and drove in six runs.
When it was over, all of the Angels’ players gathered at the pitcher’s mound, removed their number 45 jerseys and spread them out to cover the mound.
“What an unbelievable game to be a part of,” said Trout. “I’m speechless. This is the best way possible to honor him tonight. It was pretty crazy.”
“No matter what your beliefs are, what you believe in,” said rookie third baseman Matt Thaiss, “there was someone helping out tonight.”
No matter what happens the rest of the season, Friday night provided a moment for the Angels that will not be forgotten.