Monday, September 19, 2005


An excellent appeared on the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim web site following Chuck Obremski's homecall.

I've reproduced some of it here:

Byrd pitches with heavy heart...
During the game, he learns team chaplain dies of cancer
By Mark Thoma /

ANAHEIM -- Just before throwing his first pitch Sunday afternoon, Angels starter Paul Byrd turned toward center field and raised his arms over his head to form an "O," so Chuck Obremski would see on his TV that Byrd had the ailing team chaplain in his thoughts.

Obremski had been battling terminal cancer all season long, but after visiting him in the hospital Saturday night, Byrd decided he would make a public show of support before every inning Sunday. His timing couldn't have been more appropriate.

Obremski succumbed at 1:05 p.m. PT -- the exact moment that Byrd took the field -- something Byrd wouldn't learn until the fifth inning. When he found out, though, Byrd heeded the chaplain's advice to "finish strong," remaining sharp on the mound in his final innings and earning his 12th win in the Angels' 5-3 win over the Tigers.

As he walked off the field to a standing ovation, Byrd offered one last "O," dedicating the win and his perseverant performance to the man who helped keep his spirits up as Byrd's first year as an Angel got off to a rocky start.

"I had a real tough first outing of the year. ... He called me and said, 'Hey, you're gonna come back from this. We're gonna fight together, and we're gonna win together,' " Byrd said after the game. "He was encouraging me, and I should've been encouraging him."

Sunday, Byrd (12-10) allowed only seven hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings, striking out six despite occasionally struggling with command and facing a pesky Detroit offense. Just as Ombremski promised, Byrd has rebounded nicely from an April that saw him go 1-3 with a 5.29 ERA. After Sunday's win, Byrd's 3.62 ERA is the 12th best in the American League. He has won three of his four September starts, and Sunday's win maintained the Angels' two-game lead over the A's in the American League West.

"These guys know we have to grind every game, every out," Scioscia said, "and we did a good job of holding on today."
And Byrd did, under difficult cirumstances, with his thoughts on Obremski.

"We'll miss him. We're sad for us, but it was time," Byrd said. "He was ready, his family was ready. ... It was a good time."

Mark Thoma is a contributor to

1 comment:

  1. to be able to say "i have fought the good fight. i have finished the course. i have kept the faith" ... what a witenss ... Chuck certainly had a struggle these past months - but it sounds like he left a legacy behind in the hearts of those that knew him ...

    thank you for introducing me to Chuck Obremski through your blog ... i might never have known the story otherwise ...

    blessings ...