Heavy Hearts: Akerfelds's Impact Was Far-Reaching

SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 24: Justin Hatcher #80 of the San Diego Padres carries the jersey of bullpen coach Darrel Akerfelds #48 after an interleague baseball game against the Seattle Mariners at Petco Park on June 24, 2012 in San Diego, California. Bullpen catcher Griffin Benedict, left, and coach Jimmy Jones accompany Hatcher. Ackerfelds died Sunday from cancer. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

The world lost a great man today. Darrel Akerfelds's impact was felt beyond the Padres family and beyond baseball as a whole. His tenacity and refusal to dignify the disease were beyond inspirational. If you haven't, reading Tom Friend's excellent Outside The Lines piece from December is a must; even if you have, it merits a re-read. I'm not generally one to get emotionally invested in the lives of people I don't know but it hit me hard when I got the news today. Like many of you, I found out by way of Yonder Alonso's tweet shortly before gametime.

Shortly thereafter, additional members of the team and others outside the organization began expressing their loss:

As word began to spread, his pupils who have since moved on began to weigh in:

Particularly hard hit was former Friar Jake Peavy, who had become close friends with Ak:

This is by no means a comprehensive list, just a small sample of the live effected by Akerfelds. Numerous other players, fans, journalists and others weighed in throughout the day on the man they called "A-K" or "Ack". In Texas, former Padres setup man Mike Adams pitched with "AK" on his hat. He was also reportedly sporting a brand new tattoo on his arm but it is yet to be confirmed whether that is a tribute as well.

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