This is a story bookended in kind acts by Milwaukee Brewers reliever Jeremy Jeffress. It’s also the kind of story that doesn’t often get attention in a world of big-dollar contracts and scanning old tweets for anything that can be turned into a click-worthy story.
It all started at a baseball game in June at Miller Park. Jeremy Jeffress, the All-Star Milwaukee Brewers right-hander, was visiting with a group of fans when he noticed a little boy crying in the stands near the field. After a quick conversation, Jeffress understood that the little boy (Owen) had forgotten to bring a glove that day to the game.
Without hesitation, the 30-year-old handed the 4-year-old Owen his glove. The crying stopped and a moment that will be remembered for a lifetime was made.
But the memory wasn’t just made with Owen. It was also made with Owen’s young sister (Bri), mom and grandparents, all of whom had driven up from Chicago for the game.
Robert Pollyea, the grandfather, makes plenty of trips up Interstate 94 from Chicago. He says he would rather watch baseball in Milwaukee than anywhere in the Windy City because of the atmosphere and setting at Miller Park. He’s also grown fond of Milwaukee’s way of playing the game and hustle, so a Brewers game on a Sunday is not a rarity.
What he saw that day, however, was, in his opinion, an act of kindness in a time when there seem to be fewer and fewer of those every day.
“Oh my gosh, this guy is going to give a kid one of his gloves,” Pollyea thought at the time. “It may not be the Coca-Cola commercial with Mean Joe Greene, but he was concerned with the happiness of a small kid. What a selfless act.”
From that moment, Pollyea decided he would do what he could to repay the act of kindness for his grandson. He decided to write a letter to not only Milwaukee’s management, including manager Craig Counsell, about what he saw that day, but he also decided to pen a letter to Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. With the All-Star Game selection coming up (at the time) and Roberts in charge of some of the selections, Pollyea wanted to make sure that Roberts knew not only the type of player that Jeffress was, but also the type of person he was as well.
“This is not about me. It’s about the player,” Pollyea said. “He’s a caring person with a franchise that seems to care about its fans. These are the types of stories that need to be told. I tried to represent him as a person who represented the franchise. Someone who was brought back by Milwaukee and has been a big part of their success this season.”
Jeffress was eventually chosen for the All-Star Game as an injury replacement. Whether or not Pollyea’s letter had anything to do with the selection or not will never be known, but Pollyea was happy when he heard the selection news and watched Jeffress throw a scoreless inning.
That in and of itself would be a good story, but there’s one more chapter to add.
Weeks after Pollyea sent his letter, a box was delivered to his home.
“Bob called me and asked if I had ordered something,” said Pollyea’s wife, Dr. Sheri Doniger, a dentist in Lincolnwood, Ill. “I told him I hadn’t and he opened it while I was on the phone. He went silent and then was so excited to tell me that there was a Jeffress autographed jersey in there.”
Whether or not the letter had ever been referenced by Roberts was beside the point at that moment. What mattered is that Jeffress had heard of Pollyea’s efforts to get him to the All-Star Game and, once again, responded with an act of kindness.
Three acts of selflessness revolving around a Milwaukee reliever. None of them had to happen, but they all swirled together to make for a summer that one Chicago-area family (and Jeffress as well) will never forget.
Special thanks to Kevin Henry, site expert at Rox Pile, the FanSided site covering the Colorado Rockies, for bringing this story to us.