Golden locks no more: Gray donates hair

Golden locks no more: Gray donates hair

DENVER -- The message touched Rockies pitcher Jon Gray's heart and his head: Children are going through medical procedures that cost them their hair. And he had lots of it -- until Tuesday afternoon.

On the Rockies' Facebook Live feed -- and with a room full of local media watching -- Gray had eight inches of his long, blond hair cut off for a donation to Locks of Love -- a public, non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children age 21 and younger who have medical long-term hair loss. The cut took place in the interview room at Coors Field.

Until it grows back, that's it for Gray's signature look -- wild hair that flows with his delivery and whips triumphantly when he celebrates his upper 90s fastball or sharp slider resulting in a strikeout. But he is fine with that.

"That's a lot … but it's for a good purpose," Gray said, peeking at the strands of golden hair resting on the purple carpeting, waiting for it to be swept and donated.

Gray made the decision with his wife, Jacklyn, who was on hand for the cutting. Jacklyn said she likes Gray's hair long. Although he has had a few small trims, Gray hadn't had a true haircut in a long time.

Jacklyn said the last time Gray's hair was this short was when they were married on Aug. 21, 2015.

"Once Jon found out he could donate his hair, we discussed it," Jacklyn said. "He decided, 'This is something I wanted to do.' It's an awesome thing to do."

The stylist, Megan Duran of Floyd's No. 9 Barber Shop, was sensitive to the identity issue, and she accounted for it while making her cut. The style is designed to make it easy for him to regrow without repetitive cutting.

"I actually referred back to Samson at the beginning," Duran said, recounting the Biblical story of a haircut zapping a warrior of his strength. "I actually donated 15 inches of my hair three years ago. But I felt like Samson -- my strength was gone, and my identity was gone.

"So that was very important for me to sit down with him and give him a couple of options that were going to work best for him, so that he would feel comfortable and it would support him growing his hair back out. This is something he wants to continue to do."

A different-looking Gray will take the mound Thursday night against the Giants at AT&T Park. He's still 6-foot-6 with intimidating pitches. But what if he needs a little extra strength?

"Making faces or something? I don't know," Gray said, laughing. "It might be some kind of new look, a Michael Phelps-like face or something. We'll figure something out that will be intimidating."

Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, listen to podcasts and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.