DETROIT -- The list of nicknames that will adorn the backs of Tigers jerseys for MLB's second-annual Players' Weekend ranges from the funny to the subtle. For second baseman Niko Goodrum, however, it's a chance to make a tribute.When Goodrum puts on the jersey in two weeks for the Tigers'
DETROIT -- The list of nicknames that will adorn the backs of Tigers jerseys for MLB's second-annual Players' Weekend ranges from the funny to the subtle. For second baseman Niko Goodrum, however, it's a chance to make a tribute.
When Goodrum puts on the jersey in two weeks for the Tigers' home series against the White Sox, the name plate on the back will read J.J. Mumford. It's not a nickname, or even one name, but a family.
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"A family friend of ours lost two of his younger sons in a car accident," Goodrum explained. "They both played baseball."
Jarrett and Jaylen Mumford were just teenagers when they passed away two years ago in a crash in Atlanta. Jarrett had just started college at Alabama State, while Jaylen was a blossoming baseball player.
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Since then, Goodrum and his family have been doing what they can to keep them in his thoughts. When he made his Major League debut with the Twins last September, he gave the Mumford family the jersey. When he made the Tigers' Opening Day roster this spring, he sent a Tigers jersey along. When Goodrum is done with his Players' Weekend jersey, that will be on its way.
"I always think of them when I play," Goodrum said. "I knew them since they were babies. I played baseball with one of the middle sons, and our families have always been really close."
Goodrum thinking of others is nothing new. Earlier this season, he not only purchased bottled water to provide for families in Flint, Mich., he made the hour-long trek on an off-day to help hand out the water at a distribution center, loading cases of water into cars.
Jason Beck has covered the Tigers for MLB.com since 2002. Read Beck's Blog, follow him on Twitter @beckjason and Facebook.