Josh Hamer loved sports. What he loved most was the game of baseball.
“Any time I go to any baseball game, or any sporting event, I'm going to feel Josh with me. He was as active as you could be in sports,” said Josh’s father, James.
Where Josh loved to be the most was on the baseball field.
“This is where I find solace," said Josh’s mother, Jen, as she sat in the Ripken Stadium seats. “This is where I find peace because I was with my son six days a week at a baseball field.”
But Jen Hamer can no longer enjoy watching her son star on the diamond. Josh Hamer died on March 2 after he was involved in a car accident. He was only 15-years-old. He was an up-and-coming pitcher on the John Carroll High School varsity baseball team and a larger than life presence.
“He was a big figure in our school and he will always be remembered,” said Josh’s teammate Brandon Crews.
On Friday night Josh was remembered in the most appropriate way possible. A baseball game between John Carroll and Gilman was played in his memory at Ripken Stadium. His number and initials were stitched on his Patriots teammates’ uniforms, as well as written into the ground in the on-deck circle. In an emotional pre-game ceremony his jersey was presented to the Aberdeen IronBirds, while one of their jerseys was given to Josh's parents. Josh's name and number were on the back.
“My son wanted to play professional baseball and be an amazing pitcher and he was working so hard to be able to accomplish those things,” said Jen Hamer.
Now his jersey will forever be inside a professional ballpark. The IronBirds plan to display Josh's John Carroll jersey at Ripken Stadium. It will remain there in perpetuity.
“It's such an honor for your child to receive such an honor like that. Whether it be that he's looking down from heaven, it's just such a great honor. It's pretty awesome,” said James Hamer.
Josh's friends, teammates and coaches agree.
“For us to have an event like this, in his honor, I think is fitting. I think it's good medicine for everybody,” said John Carroll head coach Darrion Siler.
Before Friday's game, just like every other game this season, Josh was announced as part of the starting lineup. His mom had no doubt he was playing ball Friday just like his teammates.
“I think that right now he's kind of like the field of dreams where he's up there playing with the Angels. I know that he's in a better place,” said Jen Hamer.
Admission to Friday’s game was free. Donations were collected to benefit the Josh Hamer Memorial Scholarship Fund.