For nine players across Major League Baseball, the Players’ Weekend ritual of putting nicknames on the backs of jerseys served as a tribute to a friend.
Nationals starter Patrick Corbin is among a group that honored late Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who passed away suddenly on July 1.
Corbin and Rangers reliever Jesse Chavez wore “FORTY FIVE,” Skaggs’s jersey number, as their nicknames. White Sox starter (and former National) Lucas Giolito, Cardinals starter Jack Flaherty, Braves starter Max Fried, Rangers first baseman Scott Heineman, Brewers third baseman Mike Moustakas and Brewers outfielders Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun sported “LOVE YOU TY” on the backs of their jerseys.
“Players’ Weekend is all about expressing yourself, whether that be with style or those types of things,” Giolito told MLB.com. “We just want to express our love for him. It’s never going to end, despite his passing, and we are in support of his family as they continue to go through this hard time.”
Most of the players paid tribute to Skaggs on Friday night and will wear a different nickname for the rest of Players’ Weekend.
Flaherty started for the Cardinals on Friday night, wearing his tribute jersey and special cleats.
“Being able to have his name across the back in some type of fashion was something I really wanted to do, and I’m thankful we had the opportunity and the other guys around the league who did it,” Flaherty said.
Outside of those nine players, all teams will be wearing a jersey patch in memory of Skaggs this weekend.
Corbin and Skaggs came up through the Angels and Diamondbacks system together, and were packaged in a trade from Los Angeles to Arizona in 2012. On July 2, one day after Skaggs died, Corbin started a game for the Nationals wearing No. 45.
“He’s just all I’m thinking about,” Corbin said afterward.
On July 12, the Angels paid tribute by wearing his name and number on every jersey. The emotional night proved even more special when Taylor Cole and Felix Pena combined to no-hit the Mariners.
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