GARFIELD, N.J. (CBS 2) — Family and friends remembered a student athlete Tuesday whose dreams of being a baseball star were cut short by a freak accident on the baseball field, Kathryn Brown reports.
Tommy Adams, 16, was at baseball practice Friday night, catching with full-padded gear, when a pitch hit him directly in the chest. Moments later, he died.
“It’s sad, really sad. I’m just thinking about it and why him. That’s the only thing going through my mind. Why him?” said Christian Sotomayor, Tommy’s classmate.
Tommy’s dad, Thomas Adams, said baseball was his son’s life. He dreamed of being Derek Jeter.
“I think Tommy right now, he’s in heaven right now with his buddies Thurman Munson, my brother, you know? And he’s saying ‘let’s have a catch Thurm’,” Thomas Adams said.
During an emotional service, Tommy was remembered as a smart, shining student who overcame incredible odds to become a star baseball player.
The most touching moment Tuesday came when Garfield High School Principal Michael McGinley stepped out of a car holding flowers donated by the teenager’s family.
“I want [Adams’ family] to know the kids loved him, the faculty loved him and we will continue to keep them in our prayers,” McGinley told CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.
His teammates, coaches and classmates at Garfield High School were also mourning his loss.
“We have pictures of him. We took his locker and we covered it with paper and we put pictures of him. We wrote stuff about him. He’s really going to be missed,” said Manolo Gomez, another of Tommy’s classmates.
Doctors said the exact timing of the pitch hitting Tommy’s chest caused his heart to skip a beat. It’s a fatal and freak tragedy that no one could have seen coming and no amount of padding could have prevented.
“The shock of that is going to settle into the family so our role as Catholic Church community is to pray for them and console them,” said Father Joseph LaMorte of St. Gregory Barbarigo Church.
Tommy Adams was buried Tuesday afternoon at a cemetery in Paramus, and on the way, the motorcade passed by Garfield High School for students to pay a final tribute.
Tommy Adams’ baseball team was headed to the Winter Ball World Series in three weeks, and they said they would dedicate their play to him.