02/25/07 -- Ken Davidoff - PHOENIX – You look
at Nick Swisher, whose dark hair is nearly shoulder length, and you wonder how
the New York Yankees would react to such a sight. But we should all be
thankful that Swisher, the Oakland Athletics first baseman/outfielder, is not in New York.
With his long locks, Swisher, who enjoyed a breakout 2006, isn't making a mere fashion
statement. He wants to raise attention for a pet cause, in a most noble way.
The 26-year-old said he hasn't cut his hair in six months and that he'll probably wait until
late May. At that point, he will shave his head and donate the hair to a program called
Pantene Beautiful Lengths, which will turn Swisher's hair into a wig for a woman who has
lost her hair to chemotherapy.
Swisher's idea stemmed from the death of his grandmother, Betty Swisher – "my
number-one lady," he calls her – on Aug. 14, 2005, of a cancerous brain tumor. He is
working with the Women's Cancer Research Fund, which is an Entertainment Industry
"My grandma didn't lose all of her hair, but she lost some," Swisher said. "For kids and
guys, they can get away with shaving their heads. For women, I think they lose a lot of
self-confidence. Sometimes it keeps them inside the house.
"For me, if I can help someone get out of the house a little more, start to feel more
confident about themselves, I'm all about that."
Swisher already has begun spreading the gospel in the ever-friendly A's clubhouse. He
wants his teammates to donate both hair and money to the cause.
In covering baseball, just like any industry, it's easy to get caught up in the many negatives.
Sometimes it's nice to take a step back and celebrate how much good is being done.