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Adenhart was drafted straight out of Williamsport High School in Williamsport, Maryland by the Anaheim Angels. He had been projected as a top 10 draft pick, but an elbow injury two weeks before the 2004 MLB Draft forced him to have Tommy John surgery and dropped him to the 413th overall pick in the 14th round.
Adenhart became a top-ranked prospect in the Angels organization, ranked by Baseball America as the 90th best prospect in baseball and the sixth in the Angels organization in 2006, as the 34th best prospect in baseball and second in the Angels organization in 2007, as the 24th best prospect in baseball and 2nd in the Angels organization in 2008 and as the best prospect in the Angels organization going into 2009.
He made his major league debut as the starting pitcher on May 1, 2008, against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium of Anaheim in Anaheim, California. He gave up five earned runs and walked five in two innings, earning a no-decision.
Adenhart opened the 2009 season as the third starter in the Angels' rotation. In his final game on April 8, 2009, he earned a no-decision, giving up seven hits and no runs while striking out five batters and walking three batters in six innings against the Oakland Athletics at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.
Shortly after midnight on April 9, 2009, Adenhart was killed in a car accident in Fullerton, California, hours after being the starting pitcher in a major league baseball game versus the Oakland Athletics. Police reported that an individual driving a red Toyota Sienna minivan ran a red light, hitting a gray Mitsubishi Eclipse in which Adenhart was a passenger. The Mitsubishi then crashed into a telephone pole. The driver of the Mitsubishi and one passenger were pronounced dead at the scene. Adenhart and the third passenger were taken to University of California, Irvine Medical Center, where Adenhart died as a result of his injuries. The driver of the minivan fled the scene on foot, but was later apprehended. On April 10, 2009, the driver was charged with three counts of murder, hit and run and driving under the influence.
In remembrance of Adenhart, for the rest of the season, the Angels will wear a black No. 34 patch above the heart on their uniforms, his locker in the Angels Stadium of Anaheim clubhouse will remain as it was, and a locker will be assigned to him on road games. A black and white photo of Adenhart along with his name and number was added to the center field fence at Angel Stadium of Anaheim.
Despite pitching only 4 major league games, Adenhart was not the youngest active Angels' pitcher to die. In April, 1965, rookie pitcher Dick Wantz pitched one inning of relief for the Los Angeles Angels (in their last year sharing Dodger Stadium). He died of a brain tumor at age 25 one month later in May, 1965.
- ↑ Kubatko, Roch. "Adenhart worth wait for Angels", Baltimore Sun, August 1, 2004. Retrieved on April 10, 2009.
- ↑ Nick Adenhart. Baseball America. Retrieved on April 11, 2009.
- ↑ Scarr, Mike. "Angels struggle in finale", MLB.com, May 2, 2008. Retrieved on April 11, 2009.
- ↑ Klima, John. "Guerrero's big bat comes alive", MLB.com, May 12, 2008. Retrieved on April 11, 2009.
- ↑ Spencer, Lyle. "A's rally off Angels bullpen", MLB.com, April 9, 1009. Retrieved on April 11, 2009.
- ↑ Goffard, Christopher, Hanley, Christine. "For the Angels, a promising young arm arrives -- and then is lost", Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2009. Retrieved on April 10, 2009.
- ↑ Singer, Tom (April 9, 2009). Angels' Adenhart killed in accident. MLB.com. Retrieved on April 9, 2009.
- ↑ "Angels pitcher killed in crash", Associated Press, April 10, 2009. Retrieved on April 10, 2009.
- ↑ Barboza, Tony. "Charges filed in death of Angels pitcher", Los Angeles Times, April 11, 2009. Retrieved on April 11, 2009.
- ↑ Bollinger, Rhett (April 10, 2009). Adenhart honored in pregame ceremony. MLB.com. Retrieved on April 11, 2009.
- ↑ DiGiovanna, Mike. "Angels try to pick up pieces after Adenhart's death", Los Angeles Times, April 11, 2009. Retrieved on April 11, 2009.