White Sox: Kevan Smith Honors Fallen Teammate
By Matt Cizek
White Sox catcher honors former teammate during Player’s Weekend. The catcher hit his first home run of the season on Saturday against Detroit.
Many White Sox fans may recall the tragedy in October of 2017 when former pitcher Daniel Webb was killed in an ATV accident. Catcher and former teammate Kevan Smith certainly remembers it. On the field, Smith proved it in a big way on Saturday night.
Coming into the game without a home run, Smith delivered his first in the White Sox 6-1 victory over Detroit on Saturday. Smith – who hit four home runs in 87 games last season – has been limited to only 34 games this season thus far.
Yet while any home run is something to marvel at and appreciate, hitting his first home run of the season Saturday was especially meaningful for Smith.
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As a part of Players Weekend – an event introduced by MLB in 2017 – players are allowed to make several unique choices about the uniforms they’re going to wear. These choices include: “nicknames on the backs of jerseys…wear[ing] and use uniquely colored and designed spikes, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves, catcher’s masks and bats.”
On this day, Smith decided that he would wear a jersey with the name “Webby” printed on the back of it to honor his fallen teammate. Only then did he hit his first home run of the season, a two-run shot off Tigers pitcher Ryan Carpenter to give Chicago a 3-0 lead in the second inning. Smith shared his emotions of the moment following the game:
"“I almost started crying running around the bases. I was wondering where that home run was hiding this year. I mean, if you don’t believe that God’s up there and Webby is watching down and he’s alive and thriving, I don’t know how you can’t.” Kevan Smith"
Smith – who earlier this month named his child after Webb – spoke of Webb in an article back in July.
"“‘I’ll be able to tell my son a lot of stories about the guy. Him and I were really close. He’s a great man, a great person, a great guy to remember.'”"
Smith and Webb’s friendship lasted not only in life on the baseball field but outside of the baseball field as well. He and Webb had a trip to Montana planned at the time of Webb’s passing. He and his wife also stayed with Webb’s grieving wife for a month following the accident.
As they say, some things in life are bigger than sport. Webb’s tragic death is proof of this. Almost a year later, on a date when many decided to decorate their attire in a way that could draw some humor (intentional or not), Smith decided to honor a teammate with the name on his jersey. His actions in the game added a little something extra to that honor.