A's third baseman Matt Chapman will not be going with his usual "Chappy" nickname on this year's Players' Weekend uniform, but he has a pretty good reason for the change.
Chapman's jersey will instead say "Hurtado" to pay tribute to his college teammate and friend Nick Hurtado, who died of bone cancer in 2013 at the age of 21.
"I know it was his dream, like a lot of my friends, to play in the major leagues, and he never got that opportunity," Chapman told reporters. "So I figured it would be the best way to represent him and be able to get his last name on a major league jersey and play a game in the big leagues, in a sense, so I thought it would be pretty cool."
Hurtado was a pitcher for Cal State Fullerton after graduating from Santiago High School in Corona, California. The left-hander went 4-2 with a 1.98 ERA as a sophomore at Fullerton.
"Even though he was handed a pretty tough set of cards, he was always happy, always brought good energy, loved to have fun, loved to laugh," Chapman described. "He was a hard-worker."
Hurtado went through treatment two separate times before the cancer returned again and ultimately took his life. Still, Chapman says Hurtado stayed positive the entire time.
"You wouldn't really hear a bad thing about him," Chapman said. "He was just always so nice, such a good person, very caring, very thoughtful, and he motivated our team in so many different ways. So for me to be able to go out there and represent him is the least I can do. I think we're all better people because of him."