By Rob Rains
When Jack Flaherty takes the mound to start Friday night’s game for the Cardinals, he will do so in a special jersey.
Flaherty will be one of nine major leaguers, all friends of the late Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs, who will pay tribute to Skaggs by wearing a jersey with “Love You Ty” on the back instead of their last name.
This is the annual weekend when the players wear nicknames on their jerseys. Flaherty plans to wear the same jersey for a second day this weekend. For the other game he will wear a jersey with the nickname “Flare.”
Flaherty will also wear special cleats with a tribute to Skaggs, who was found dead in his hotel room in Texas on July 1 when the Angels were playing the Rangers.
“It was something that we wanted to do,” Flaherty said. “I reached out to a couple of guys and said we should do something and we thought of putting something on the back (of the jersey). One of the guys said we should put “Love You Ty” so that’s how we came up with that.
“It’s going to be awesome. We wanted to do something and it’s kind of what we came up with.”
Flaherty grew up in southern California, as did Skaggs, but they never played together or against each other as amateurs.
“We used to work out together and spend time together in the off-season,” Flaherty said.
Flaherty was one of several players on other teams who attended a memorial service for Skaggs a few days following his death. A cause of death has not been announced. Skaggs was 27.
There already has been one jersey tribute to Skaggs. On July 12, at their first home game following Skaggs’ death, the Angels all wore his jersey number, 45, and two pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter against the Mariners.
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Photo by AP courtesy of KSDK Sports