Mike Trout and Tommy La Stella brought the memory of a former Angels teammate with them to the All-Star Game on Tuesday. The Los Angeles players each wore the jersey number, 45, of Tyler Skaggs, who died suddenly last week.
“We thought it would be a good way to show some love and respect for Tyler,” Trout said before the game, won by his American League squad, 4-3 over the National League. “That’s going to be fun for me, it’s gonna be good for him, good for his family. And I know he is looking out over us tonight. It’s gonna be good.”
Skaggs, a 27-year-old pitcher, was found dead on July 1 in his room at his team’s hotel in Arlington, Tex., where the Angels were playing the Rangers. A cause of death has not been released; police said they did not suspect foul play or believe it to be a suicide.
The death of Skaggs, a member of the Angels since 2014, led to an emotional scene the next day, after his teammates notched a win over the Rangers. A tearful Trout, leading a parade of tributes, said of Skaggs, “The energy he brought to the clubhouse, every time you saw him, just picked me up.”
On Tuesday, ceremonies before the All-Star Game included a moment of silence at Cleveland’s Progressive Field. Players for both sides wore black patches on their jerseys with the number 45 in white.
“It’s gonna be, I’m sure, a very emotional night for all of us,” La Stella said before the game. “I don’t really know what to say, honestly. I don’t know what to expect.
"It’s one of those things that’s not gonna be easy but it’ll be right to have him with us in that way.”
Trout, an eight-time all-star, two-time MVP of the game and two-time AL MVP, normally wears No. 27. La Stella, a first-time all-star in his sixth major league season who attended the event but did not play because he is out with a broken tibia, wears No. 9.
“This is all for him,” Trout said of the plan to wear Skaggs’s number. “He always wanted to be an all-star, and tonight he was, for sure.”
A day after Skaggs’s death, Washington Nationals pitcher Patrick Corbin temporarily switched his jersey number from 46 to 45 for a start against the Miami Marlins. A former member of the Angels’ organization and a close friend of Skaggs, Corbin said at the time, “He’s, just, all I’m thinking about.”