by Kara Brown
Mesa, Ariz. — Joe Maddon and his Chicago Cubs underwent an extreme makeover Saturday morning, going bald for pediatric cancer research.
Fans gathered outside of Sloan Park to watch their favorite coaches and players surrender their hair for a great cause.
Maddon started the fundraiser “Respect Bald’’ three years ago hoping to provide support for children affected by cancer as well as their families, who are impacted behind the scenes.
“When you think about the child themself that’s involved, absolutely horrible,” he said. “But then think about the family and the extended family and just waking up in the morning and what that means to you mentally. . .”
Kyle Schwarber, Munenori Kawasaki and cancer survivor Anthony Rizzo, were among some of the big-name Cubs who participated in the head-shaving event.
But the two biggest hair contributors were a couple of less-known players.
Pitcher Pierce Johnson and catcher Taylor Davis were unable to escape the bounties placed on their heads. Together players and coaches pitched in about $50,000 just to see the two shave their flowing locks.
Each started the event with shoulder-length manes. They surprised Maddon because neither has kids, yet wanted to contribute.
And did they ever. Both left with neatly shorn heads.
“Now just imagine, especially you dudes out there, when you were that age and you had hair like that, you did not want to give it up,” Maddon told fans.
Davis noted that it had been four years since his last buzz cut. When asked how his wife would react to his clean-cut look, he didn’t seem too worried.
“I’m not quite sure,” he said. “I didn’t give her the option.”
As for Johnson, he might just have to change his Twitter name from @Flowbro33 to something that better suits his newly buzzed head.
Alongside the players, fans were able to join the cause and have their heads shaved for a minimum donation of $100.
In all, the event raised more than $68,000 for pediatric cancer support.