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Thursday, April 9, 2009
Adenhart gone far too soon


What a gut punch.

I don't want to belabor this point because it's been made before, and anyway, terrible coincidences don't tell us anything except that terrible coincidences are a part of our sometimes terrible existence. But the Angels must be the unluckiest franchise ever, and I don't know of another franchise that's even in the running.

• In 1965, rookie pitcher Dick Wantz earned a roster spot in the spring, then died of a brain tumor one month after making his major league debut.

• In 1968, reliever Minnie Rojas was paralyzed in an offseason car accident that killed his wife and two of his three children.

• In 1972, utility infielder Chico Ruiz was killed in a car accident.

• In 1974, rookie reliever Bruce Heinbechner was killed in a car accident.

• In 1977, shortstop Mike Miley was killed in a car accident.

• Near the end of the 1978 season, star outfielder Lyman Bostock -- with the Angels visiting Chicago -- drove to Gary, Ind., to see friends and family. That night, he was shot dead while sitting in the back of the car. His murderer was trying to kill someone else.

And then there were all the devastating injuries over the years: Ken McBride, Rick Reichardt, Bobby Valentine, Joe Rudi, Bobby Grich, Bruce Kison, Rick Burleson, Mo Vaughn ...

Not to mention the unfortunate nature of the 1986 American League Championship Series (which may have indirectly led to the death of Donnie Moore).

Last night, Nick Adenhart seemed terribly unlucky after the Angels' bullpen blew a big lead and cost him his second major league win. Today, that and everything else pale next to the 22-year-old pitcher's early and terrible end. Today, we can only offer our best wishes and our prayers to Adenhart's teammates, his friends, and especially to his family. Rest in peace, Nick. We hardly knew you.