Wong homers using pink bat to honor late mom

Second baseman's everyday lumber has his mother's signature on it

Wong homers using pink bat to honor late mom

PITTSBURGH -- Since losing his mother, Keala, to cancer 17 months ago, second baseman Kolten Wong has swung bats scripted with her signature -- Karen Keala Wong -- as a subtle way to honor her memory and legacy.

Wong left those bats in the bat rack on Sunday, choosing instead on this Mother's Day to use a pink-issued Marucci bat as part of Major League Baseballs' initiative to go to bat against breast cancer.

"I wanted to go with something that represented the Mother's Day theme, so I decided for the pink bat," Wong said. "I told myself that this day is for my mom. No matter what I do, I'm going to have fun, play the game and just enjoy it."

Though the Cardinals fell, 4-3, to the Pirates on Sunday, Wong did use that pink bat to line a game-tying homer off Jeff Locke into the right-field seats in the sixth inning. It was Wong's third homer in eight days against the Pirates, but a particularly meaningful one given that it came in his first Mother's Day appearance as a Major Leaguer.

Before the game, he tweeted: "Today i play for my biggest fan! The person who believed in me from day 1! I love you momma and Happy mother's day to all mom's"

"It definitely meant a lot to get one on Mother's Day," Wong said. "Last year, I wasn't here for that, so to do it on this Mother's Day was special."

Wong was one of several Cardinals players swinging pink bats in the team's series finale. Peter Bourjos singled with one just ahead of Wong's blast. Jason Heyward drove in the team's third run as part of his two-hit day with pink lumber. Matt Adams, Mark Reynolds and Pete Kozma each used their pink bat at least once.

Players also sported all sorts of other pink gear. Several donned pink cleats, while others wore pink wristbands, undershirts and arm guards. Pink ribbons were affixed to the team jerseys and on the bases.

While others packed up their pink items for good or passed them on to be auctioned off, Wong kept his close. He already has plans for it all.

"I'm going to keep it," he said. "I have the shoes, batting gloves, everything. I'm going to put it together as a little thing for my mom."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB and like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.