Maybe you watched the 2013 World Series and saw Boston Red Sox outfielder Jonny Gomes’ unusual Army-green headgear and wondered, “What’s up with that?” Well wonder no more because now we know how a combat helmet worn by a soldier in Iraq ended up atop one of the bearded boys of Fenway.
The story begins back in June when Gomes was signing autographs for some veterans and their families at the famous baseball park in Boston. Master Sgt. Miguel Chacon was there getting autographs for his three children when the military dad “felt something hit him on the side,” reports Boston-based Barstool Sports. Chacon turned to find a pair of batting gloves thrown to him by Gomes, who is known for his steadfast support of military families. “I’ve met some players,” Chacon said. “But I’ve never met a player as patriotic as Jonny.”
Chacon was later able to thank Gomes personally for the unsolicited gesture, but Chacon still wanted to do more, reports an article on the Army’s website. So when he had the chance to attend the Sept. 15 Red Sox-Yankees game, he decided to bring a special gift with him to the park.
“On a pre-game tour of Fenway, Chacon brought along the advanced combat helmet that he had worn in Iraq and a bag of ‘recruiting goodies,'” reports Barstool Sports. Chacon showed the helmet to a park official and told her he’d brought it for Gomes. “Are you serious?” asked Gomes when given the special combat memento. “This is cool. This rocks.” The outfielder has been photographed wearing it on multiple occasions since.
Among the things emblazoned on the helmet are Chacon’s rank, roster number, blood type, an American flag and a Special Forces sticker.
But why give something so personal to a relative stranger?
“Things I’ve taken to combat and back, they have a lot of value to me,” Chacon said. “I wanted to give a piece of the battlefield back to Jonny.”
The Boston Red Sox beat out the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-1, Oct. 30 in Game 6 of the 2013 World Series, earning their eighth overall World Series Championship.
Perhaps Chacon’s combat helmet was a good-luck charm. After all, Gomes — who wasn’t even in the original starting lineup, reports The Washington Post‘s Thomas Boswell — did hit the game-changing sixth-inning homer that spun the game from a tied 1-1 to an eventual win.
“Yes, heeeerrreee’s Jonny,” says Boswell.
And yes — heeeerrreee’s Chacon.