A very special dedication ceremony was held Saturday in honor of John Altobelli, the college baseball coach killed in the Calabasas helicopter crash that also took the life of basketball legend Kobe Bryant and seven others two years ago.
The baseball field at Orange Coast College is now named the John Altobelli Park.
Just two years ago John Altobelli was killed along with his wife, Kerry and the couple’s 14 year-old daughter, Alyssa, in that helicopter crash.
In a salute to Altobelli, every OCC player wore jersey number 14, the number Altobelli wore. School administrators said it’s the last time anyone will wear that number.
“We’ve retired it across our department. We’re not going to wear 14 with any of our 25 teams,” said Jason Kehler, Orange Coast College athletic director. “Fourteen is going to be just about John, about that hard work, that dedication and that legacy that he left here for everyone.”
The beloved coach’s mantra that his players have taken to heart is: Make today the most important day of the year because tomorrow is not guaranteed.
The Pirates defeated the Irvine Valley College 14-4 in Saturday’s game.