OAKLAND — Before Monday’s 9-0 win over the Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics designated hitter Khris Davis got an autograph request. For a man who’s hit 122 home runs over the last three seasons, that, in itself, is nothing new. Neither was his 438-foot homer to center field in the fourth inning.
But, when 10-year old Anthony Slocumb asked for Davis’s John Hancock, he got a surprise: Davis wanted his signature, too.
“I thought maybe it would mean something if I had my jersey signed by him, to know what that feels like, to be in my shoes, even for a split second,” Davis said.
Slocumb, who is in remission from LCH — Langerhans cell histiocytosis, a rare type of cancer that can cause lesions all over one’s body — was visiting the Oakland Coliseum as part of a trip with the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Greater Bay Area chapter. During their brief pregame conversation, Slocumb told Davis he was his favorite player, which, Davis said, got him fired up for the game. So, the two exchanged signatures, with the sixth-grader at Claremont Middle School scrawling his name on Davis’s left shoulder.
In the third inning, Davis socked his 37th home run of the season. It was one of four home runs the A’s hit on the day.
Davis has now hit 85 home runs over the past two seasons, second in the major leagues only to Giancarlo Stanton’s 86.
“I thought about him around the bases, and there’s not a better feeling than hitting a home run, and if he got some excitement and joy from watching that, I hope he saw it,” Davis said. “Any time you’re seeing kids in a less-privileged situation, it’s heart-melting. It’s special. They’re the star, really.”
While Slocumb didn’t ask for the home run, Davis was certainly happy to provide some excitement.
“There was a lot of emotion, with those kinds of situations,” Davis said. “It’s the worst situation you can be in, probably, and I just wanted to put a smile on his face. I’m just kind of at a loss for words.”
Davis never thought once about changing to a clean jersey.
“I wanted to rock that,” Davis said. “I wanted him to know I was thinking about him.”