PORTSMOUTH — It was Ryan Westmoreland’s big night at LeLacheur Park in Lowell, Mass. Wednesday.
The Lowell Spinners, the Class A affiliate of the World Series Champion Boston Red Sox, honored 2009 alumnus — and Portsmouth resident — Ryan Westmoreland with “Ryan Westmoreland Day,” retiring his No. 25 in a special ceremony.
It was the first time the Spinners had ever retired a player’s number.
Ryan, a Portsmouth High School graduate, starred for the Spinners’ 2009 Stedler Division Champion team.
As a 19-year-old, he was a New York-Penn League All-Star and was named the best prospect in the league and in the Red Sox organization by Baseball America, ranking 21st in the game following the season.
It was following his standout season as he prepared for his second season that Ryan’s career was derailed by a cavernous malformation on his brain, requiring multiple surgeries that despite his valiant rehab efforts led to retirement from the game in March of 2013.
“Ryan was such a transcendent talent with the Spinners and a phenomenal individual both on and off the field,” said Spinners President and General Manager Tim Bawmann. “He holds a special place in our hearts and those of Spinners fans. We have no doubt had fate not intervened that Ryan would be patrolling a Major League outfield at an All-Star level.”
The announcement to retire Ryan’s No. 25 was originally made at the team’s Hot Stove event in January, a surprise to Ryan and his family, and the team had worked to finalize the details of the night in the months since.
“As the first number to be retired by the Spinners, this is a truly special occasion,” said Mr. Bawmann. “There is absolutely no one more deserving than Ryan and he truly is an inspiration to all. We are thrilled to celebrate Ryan’s accomplishments, both on and off the field, his perseverance and his heart.”
On Wednesday the team held a special pre-game ceremony, and the first 1,000 fans received special “Westmoreland 25” pennants to commemorate the event.
It was also “Ryan Westmoreland Day” in Portsmouth Wednesday, as decreed by the Town Council two days earlier.
Check out a gallery photos from Wednesday night’s event below. All photos by John Corneau/Lowell Spinners.