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.
Rest in Peace AK we know u will be watching over us today!!! God Bless the Padres family.— Yonder Alonso (@YonderalonsoU) June 24, 2012
Shortly thereafter, additional members of the team and others outside the organization began expressing their loss:
Today's game is for AK. "@YonderalonsoU: Rest in Peace AK we know u will be watching over us today!!! God Bless the Padres family."— Anthony Bass (@AnthonyBass45) June 24, 2012
We lost a great one in the padres family today. You're in a better place now AK.— Joe Wieland (@JWieland108) June 24, 2012
Padres lost a great one today. It was a pleasure to be in the bullpen with you AK! I know you're eating hot tamales in a better place now— Josh Spence (@joshspence) June 24, 2012
Padre family lost a Great Man today! AkYou will be missed by all of us! Rest in Peace my friend— Mark P Sweeney (@Sweendog9) June 24, 2012
As word began to spread, his pupils who have since moved on began to weigh in:
Another great baseball man passed today...Darrel Akerfelds. The bullpen coach for the Padres, I spent 2006 there. What a wonderful human— Jon Adkins (@jonadkinsWV) June 24, 2012
Deeply sadden by the loss of SD's Darrel Akerfelds. He was a great man and was loved by every player that had the honor of meeting him— Adam Russell (@AdamRussell36) June 25, 2012
Pretty sad right now hearing the news about my former coach Darrel Akerfelds.He loved the game & never let cancer get him down.RIP AK— Pat Neshek (@PatNeshek) June 24, 2012
Particularly hard hit was former Friar Jake Peavy, who had become close friends with Ak:
Been an unreal sad day thanks for all the prayer & support regarding Darrell Akerfelds! He was an amazing man, mentor & a friend that stuck— Jake Peavy (@JakePeavy_44) June 25, 2012
By me closer than a brother! Words can't describe how crushed I am but will live on in his memory & always remember the good times we shared— Jake Peavy (@JakePeavy_44) June 25, 2012
Peavy on Akerfelds: This guy was laying on his death bed sending me texts, encouraging me after a bad start. It was amazing to me.— The Northwest Herald (@sox_insider) June 24, 2012
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.