Baseball players don’t have the same self-expressive reputation as their NBA and NFL peers, but, as we discovered in the Oakland clubhouse this spring, there are plenty of untold stories if you simply bother to ask.
Pitcher Sean Manaea
“My tats are a symbol of my (Samoan) culture. They are part of who I am. I’ve very proud of them.
“I just have no tat that’s all connected. It’s broken up into three different time periods. The first one I did (upper arm) was in American Samoa, the first time I went out there. Me, my mom and dad went out there three years ago. And then December of ’14, I drove out to California, saw my agent, and got my chest done. And then this past offseason, we just did my forearm. So basically three sessions.”
Catcher Bruce Maxwell
“One of my best friends (Zach Guidry), he died in high school, my senior year. It’s a cross with the lightning coming across it. That’s his initials and the day he died. His favorite saying was ‘Never be afraid of greatness. Let greatness be afraid of you.’ So me and about five other guys, we all grew up together, and so we’ve all got that tattoo. I made mine on my shoulder. Some guys have it on their chest. So it’s a close-knit group of guys back home, we all have that.”
Left fielder Khris Davis
“When I was growing up, we used to go over to the house of an uncle, a great guy, who let us play lots of video games. He was into flying and had this picture of a B-2 bomber on the wall. I’d always loved planes, but I loved that one most of all. The tattoo is a duplicate of the picture he had.”
First baseman Yonder Alonso
“I got it about four years ago. My mom kind of created it: the flowers, the colors. And then she sends me this scripture every day before my games, which basically says, ‘Patience and with God you can achieve all goals.’
And then I did this one last year. It’s my son’s horoscope sign with my wife’s and myself’s.”
Reliever John Axford
“My tats are for my boys. Roses for them, both born in June. JB and Jameson are their names. Jameson was the one bitten by a snake. And I have a Maple Leaf, of course. Why wouldn’t I? (Axford is an Ontario, Canada, native.)”