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Mural Near Samohi Commemorates Late Angels Pitcher Tyler Skaggs
By Jorge Casuso
July 18, 2019 -- A long throw away from the Samohi diamond where Tyler Skaggs became a top major league prospect, the image of the Angels pitcher, surrounded by an aura, looms on a storefront wall.
The mural -- painted on the west wall of the building that houses the Pico Youth and Family Center (PYFC) -- was completed Wednesday by fellow Samohi graduate Jonas Never as a tribute to Skaggs, who died in a Texas hotel room July 1.
Never, who has painted murals commemorating Linkin Park vocalist Chester Bennington and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain after their deaths, also played for the Samohi team, although during a different time.
"Proud to be a (sic) paint this mural for Tyler Skaggs right across from Samohi [Santa Monica High School]," Never wrote below the photo posted to Instagram. "(Where both of us played baseball ... though he was much, much better)."
Never thanked Skaggs' widow Carli for stopping by. "That really meant the world," he wrote.
Skaggs' mother Debbie Hetman has also visited the mural, Never said.
In an interview with Major League Baseball's Cut4, Never said it took him three days to finish the painting.
"A bunch of Tyler's former teammates and opponents came together to donate the paint and the Santa Monica Police Department and a local nonprofit helped out a ton too," Never said.
"Both Tyler and I wore No. 11 when we pitched at Santa Monica, and his mom Debbie was the softball coach," he said.
The Santa Monica mural is the latest memorial commemorating Skaggs, who was 27 years old when he died during a road trip against the Texas Rangers.
The tributes have ranged from a sand-sculpture of a giant A with wings in Dana Point Harbor to a moving impromptu ceremony around the mound after the Angels' first game home without Skaggs.
The game followed the emotional twists of a Hollywood script that began with Skaggs' mother tossing a perfect opening pitch before a combined no-hitter that was followed by the team laying the jerseys they wore with Skaggs' number 45 on the mound.
Skaggs was pronounced dead after he was found unresponsive in his room at the Hilton Hotel in Southlake, Texas, according too local police ("Angels Pitcher, Former Samohi Star Found Dead at Age 27," July 1, 2019).
The cause of death has not been announced. No foul play is suspected, police said.
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