Smith, Robertson recall caring, witty Webb

Close friends, former teammates remember late Sox reliever as passionate, impactful person

Smith, Robertson recall caring, witty Webb

CHICAGO -- Kevan Smith and Daniel Webb's regular hunting and fishing trip to Montana, which they had enjoyed since they became friends and teammates in the White Sox organization, was scheduled for Monday, Oct. 16.

That journey lined up two days after the 28-year-old Webb, and his wife, Melissa, celebrated marital bliss with numerous friends and family members during a party at their ranch in Waverly, Tenn. Their infant daughter was one of the honored guests.

"I tell everybody he was as about as happy, the happiest I've ever seen him," Smith said. "He was married, he had a little girl. He built his dream pad here.

"There wasn't a worry in his mind. So that's why it's comforting to know that he was in a good spot. He was with his friends and family that all loved him."

Webb's life came to a tragic end on that same Saturday evening when he was killed during an all-terrain-vehicle accident. His wife suffered a broken collarbone in the accident, and two others were also injured.

Tributes from friends who played with Webb came across social media shortly after news of his passing. Reliever Nate Jones released a statement through the White Sox.

Smith, a catcher who first got to know Webb as his batterymate with Class A Kannapolis in 2012, referred to Webb as his brother. David Robertson, who pitched with Webb from 2015-16, said Webb had an aura about him and was "just a fun, likeable guy."

"I remember him always smiling, always had a good little funny comment in a conversation," Robertson said. "He was always a guy you wanted to sit next to in the bullpen and on the bus. Just a great guy. He revolved around the outdoors, and that's pretty much how I was raised. We got along really well."

Through David and Erin Robertson's High Socks for Hope charitable foundation, a memorial fundraiser has been set up to honor Daniel and help his family with some of the unplanned expenses coming from his tragic passing. All donations are tax deductible and 100 percent of the proceeds will be given to Daniel's wife, according to the foundation's website, www.highsocksforhope.com, where donations can be made directly.

Robertson supports Webbs through fundraiser

In 94 games over parts of four seasons with the White Sox, Webb posted a 4.50 ERA. He missed the entire 2017 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery on June 10, 2016, but Smith said Webb was planning a comeback and raved about his surgically repaired arm.

The wedding party began early that Saturday afternoon, and around 8 p.m., Webb decided to travel to a spot on his property where he could really see the stars. The fatal accident happened on their return, via a trail Smith guessed Webb drove thousands of times.

"He was so witty," said Smith of Webb, who also was survived by his 6-year-old daughter. "He cared very much about what he loved and the people he hung around with. You can just see the support and the people that have reached out in help and with what they have sent or their words, it shows the impact he truly left on everybody.

"People locked in on him, and the guy could tell stories with the best of them. He sucked in the whole room whenever he started telling a story. He would be the last one at the restaurant. We always joke about it. 'One more,' he always said. He never wanted to leave."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.