WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- After learning that he didn't have time to order specialty cleats for Players Weekend, as many of his teammates already had, Cardinals center fielder Tommy Pham quickly turned to devising a Plan B. It turned out to be even more meaningful than he could have hoped.Instead of
WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- After learning that he didn't have time to order specialty cleats for Players Weekend, as many of his teammates already had, Cardinals center fielder Tommy Pham quickly turned to devising a Plan B. It turned out to be even more meaningful than he could have hoped.
Instead of designing his own cleats, Pham had his outfitter send him two pairs of white ones. He knew the perfect people to decorate them.
Pham gave one pair to his 7-year-old nephew, Clayton, and sent the other to St. Louis Children's Hospital, where he remembered there being a bustling arts and crafts room. There, the hospital found a pair of willing artists.
Lamarion, 7, and Chloe, 5, got some time away from their cancer treatments and brought their creativity to life on Pham's shoes. Chloe colored one shoe red and blue, then topped it with silver glitter. Lamarion went with green and orange. He wrote Pham's name on the tip of his shoe.
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Pham received permission from Major League Baseball to wear the cleats for Sunday's Little League Classic against the Pirates. He will don the ones decorated by his nephew next weekend.
"My [lack] of preparation ended up being something pretty cool," Pham said.
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are presenting the inaugural Players Weekend on Aug. 25-27, when the Cardinals will host the Rays at Busch Stadium wearing the colorful, alternate uniforms they sported on Sunday vs. the Pirates.
In addition to the unique and specially designed cleats, batting gloves, wristbands, compression sleeves, bats and other gear, players were given the opportunity to replace their last name with a nickname on the back of their customized uniforms.
Each player also will wear a special patch on his sleeve showing the progression of a child evolving into a Major Leaguer. Under that logo is white space, and every player will mark the name of a person whom they are grateful to for helping them advance their careers, such as family or a coach.
Game-worn Players Weekend jerseys will be auctioned at MLB.com/auctions, with 100 percent of net proceeds donated to the MLB-MLBPA Youth Development Foundation, a joint effort established in July 2015 by MLB and the MLBPA with an initial commitment of $30 million focused on improving the caliber, effectiveness and availability of amateur baseball and softball programs across the U.S. and Canada.
Jenifer Langosch has covered the Cardinals for MLB.com since 2012, and previously covered the Pirates from 2007-11. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook.