DENVER (AP) — Colorado Rockies right-hander Jon Gray became the “mane” attraction Tuesday as he plopped down in a barber’s chair and had his hair trimmed for charity.
Gray donated eight inches of hair to the nonprofit organization Locks of Love, which provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.
He’s long been known for his flowing locks and a blazing fastball.
Gray still has that fastball.
With a throng of people watching — including coaches and, briefly, manager Bud Black — Gray had his hair put into a pony tail and officially measured. It was then chopped off by a barber.
Like that, gone was the hair he’s been growing out since spring training 2015. His hair flying into his face each time he cut loose on a pitch has become part of his identity.
“When you take the field, it’s like you have an alter ego, like you’re taking on a different character,” Gray said.
He’s hardly concerned his new look will affect him on the mound. It might even be a benefit.
“Going to help that fastball command,” Black joked.
His wife, Jacklyn Gray, was on hand for the event and said she may do a few double-takes at first, until she gets used to his new haircut. But it’s well worth it.
“This is such a great cause. We hope this brings an abundance of awareness to this organization and hopefully motivate many people, men and women, to donate to create these wonderful hair pieces,” she said. “These are such an awesome thing and going to help so many people who are in need.”
The 25-year-old Gray plans to grow his hair out again for the same purpose. He might recruit other major leaguers to take a pair of scissors to their locks. Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon certainly could be a candidate. So would New York Mets hurler Noah Syndergaard, who’s nicknamed “Thor.”
Only, that would be a hard sell.
“That’s a lot of hair there,” Gray said.
His catcher, Tony Wolters, compared Gray’s hair to that of a lion’s mane and was a little worried about shearing it off.
“He’s like, ‘You better not cut it. You better not cut it. You look like a lion out there,'” said Gray, whose Twitter handle is MrGrayWolf22. “It will be back before we know it. We’ll find another way to be intimidating.”
“I might have to pitch in a little more,” cracked Gray, the third overall pick in the 2013 draft.
Gray is 0-0 with a 5.79 ERA this season with his hair long. He’ll see what he does with the short hair Thursday at San Francisco.
“I don’t think it will be that big of a deal,” Gray said.
– By PAT GRAHAM, AP Sports Writer
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