In the fall of 2006, Alex Cowart arrived at Adrian College (Adrian, Michigan) as a member of the Adrian College baseball team. As an incoming freshman, he did not know a single person. The first person he met was fellow freshman and third baseman, Chad Meyer.
Cowart and Meyer became best friends and by their junior year, they were roommates. Living together made their bond even stronger but nothing could prepare them for what would come next. Right before Christmas that year, a tumor was found in Meyer’s armpit. Meyer was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare form of Cancer.
Meyer refused to let the disease get the best of him and continued working out and playing baseball, even while undergoing chemotherapy. All the while, Meyer did everything with a smile on his face. Cowart said that, “We used to joke around and say, ‘You can’t find anywhere else to grow muscle so now it’s growing in your armpit.’” During that season, the entire team decided to shave their heads while Meyer lost his hair while going through treatment.
By the time their senior season rolled around, the Cancer had spread to Meyer’s spine and he could no longer play baseball. But Meyer still wanted to be apart of the team and attended every practice. Eventually, he could no longer walk and was hospitalized. With Meyer no longer at practice, Cowart made it a point to visit him in the hospital after practice and keep him in the loop.
By the beginning of May, the seniors were set to graduate. “The best day ever was when I got to deliver his cap and gown to him before he graduated” said Cowart. “He went on stage and got a standing ovation. It was the most emotional day of my life.”
The following Friday would be Senior Day at the ballpark. The team planned on honoring Meyer during a doubleheader by wearing his number 15 jersey and getting him in the batters box for one last at bat. That at bat never happened. Meyer died the night before the game. “He was the best friend I ever had”, said Cowart.
The doubleheader was played two days later and with the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) Title on the line, Cowart went 5 for 6 with four runs, three RBI’s, and two walks to help lead Adrian College to a sweep that day and the MIAA title.
Month’s later; Cowart has found himself in the California Winter League. “Part of the reason why I’m down here is because of Chad Meyer”, said Cowart. “He thought I was the greatest hitter that he’s ever seen and he was always pushing me to be a great player. We always talked about us playing at the next level somewhere but he’s up in heaven now watching me”
And while Chad Meyer is not here with Cowart, Meyer’s number 15 remains a staple wherever Cowart goes. Cowart wears his number 15 on his cleats. He uses that number to remind him of the lessons that Meyer left behind. “He always told me that if you work hard, you can get somewhere, and if you are going to do something, do it to your fullest capabilities”.
Cowart has taken those lessons to heart and is near the league lead in every offensive category. He has been offered a contract to play in the American Association but has not yet signed. That is because the Boston Red Sox have asked him to come in for a tryout on March 1st.
No matter where Cowart ends up, he says, “I want to get better every single day because that’s what Chad would have wanted me to do and that’s what he would have done himself.”