Rockies' Hilliard hits emotional HR days after father's death
Sam Hilliard hit this one for dad.
Less than a week after losing his father, Jim, to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis - also known as Lou Gehrig's disease - the Colorado Rockies outfielder put his team on his back in an emotional performance against the Washington Nationals. In the sixth inning, Hilliard launched a go-ahead, two-run home run, his first since returning to the team earlier this week.
Hilliard was visibly emotional in the dugout following the homer and during the next inning in left field, according to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post.
Hilliard wasn't done there. He almost single-handedly manufactured the winning run in the ninth by lacing a single, stealing second, moving to third on a sacrifice, and then scoring on Brendan Rodgers' base hit.
"I respect the hell out of him," Rodgers, Hilliard's close friend and roommate, said after the Rockies' 9-8 win, according to Danielle Allentuck of the Colorado Springs Gazette. "Coming back a couple days after it happened, it's not easy to do. ... He knows who he's doing it for."
After Jim Hilliard was diagnosed with ALS three years ago, Sam and his family started Team Hilliard ALS to raise money for research and treatment of the incurable disease.
The 27-year-old Hilliard is in his third major-league season.