Tyler was born on July 13, 1991 and for as long as his family can remember, he had a passion for sports. Growing up in Santa Monica, Tyler would play whatever was in season at the moment, be it baseball, basketball, football or soccer. But baseball was his favorite.
Starting with T-ball at age 5, Tyler played baseball at every level for the next 12 years, Little League, Juniors, travel ball and, of course, in high school.
Following his senior year at Santa Monica High School, Tyler was drafted in the first round of 2009 MLB amateur draft by the Los Angeles Angels. A year later, after successful seasons in rookie ball in Arizona and Utah, and A ball in Iowa and Indiana, Tyler was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In his first four summers as a professional baseball player, Tyler pitched for minor-league teams in seven different states. His hard work and dedication paid off on Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012, when he made his MLB debut as the Diamondbacks’ starting pitcher in the first game of a double-header against the Miami Marlins. Tyler gave up only 2 runs on 3 hits while striking out 4 in 62/3s innings to earn his first big-league win.
Following the 2013 season, Tyler was traded back to the Angels, where he spent the rest of his career. You can find the complete record of Tyler’s MLB career at Baseball-Reference.com.
But it was off the field where Tyler had his biggest impact, leveraging his status as a Major League pitcher to give back to the community. Tyler loved to mentor young people, encouraging them to work hard to achieve their dreams, and to provide comfort and lift up those facing significant health challenges.
His favorite volunteer stops were Children’s Hospital of Orange County, the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Monica, and the three schools he attended growing up: Roosevelt Elementary, Lincoln Middle School and Santa Monica High. “If someone asked him to help out with something, he always went,” said his mother, Debbie.
The same was true on the field. At the time of his death, Tyler was the anchor of the Angels starting rotation, leading the team in wins, ERA, innings pitched, games started and strike-outs. In other words, he was the solid, dependable, reliable pitcher that his teammates knew they could count on through the ups and down of the long baseball season.
Small wonder, then, that in the Angels’ first game back home in Anaheim after Tyler’s passing that Tyler Cole and Felix Peña combined to throw a no-hitter against the Seattle Mariners, with the whole team wearing Tyler’s red No. 45 jersey. An instant classic, it is one of the most memorable games ever played at Angels Stadium. That magical evening, including a litany of ironic statistics about that game, that night and Tyler’s life that only baseball can provide, was captured so beautifully by Angels beat writer Fabian Ardaya in the “Greatest Game I Covered” column in The Athletic.
Tyler had a bright future – in baseball and beyond – and he left us too soon. This foundation and its work will ensure that Tyler’s future, now in the form of his legacy, will continue to touch the people’s lives, just as Tyler did when he was among us.