OAKLAND — The wildfires in Maui became the United States’ deadliest in more than 100 years.
For Oakland Athletics utility player, Tony Kemp, he wanted to do what he could to give back to the community and those who are impacted by the devastation.
Kemp is raising money in relief efforts with donations on custom cleats and bats.
“When you see people in need, you just feel like you need to step up and do a little something,” Kemp told The Comeback on Friday. “I feel like those cleats — it kind of was the perfect storm — because I didn’t know what I was going to do with the cleats. I wore them, obviously — made that really cool catch. You know, I remember when that happened, I was like, ‘It would be cool if these go in a place of need somewhere.'”
The wildfires have claimed at least 110 lives, leaving 1,000 unaccounted for and thousands in devastation.
Kemp said earlier on Friday someone had donated $1,000 toward the cause.
The cleats and bats he auctioned off also had a personal and fun touch.
They’re Nickelodeon themed.
Tony Kemp’s “Hey Arnold” cleats and “Rocket Power” bat 🔥 pic.twitter.com/N3ePBvhM7K
— Baseball Bros (@BaseballBros) August 16, 2023
“Nickelodeon was my favorite network when I was growing up and 90’s theme I feel like, it kind of just hit everyone in the heart strings a little bit.” Kemp said. “‘Rocket Power’ and ‘Hey Arnold’ were my favorite cartoons growing up so when we were getting them custom, I said, ‘Yeah, go with those,’ and he did a great job.”
The cleats were designed by IKB Customs.
Kemp and his wife, Michelle, make it a mission to give back. In addition to the donations, the two created the “+1 Effect,” an initiative to have real conversations about race.
Additionally, Tony and Michelle partnered with HCP Cureblindness. Each time Kemp records a walk throughout the 2023 Major League Baseball Season, he will donate $100 to HCP Cureblindness, in an effort to eradicate preventable blindness.
“Listen, there’s a lot of bad going on out there in the world, and I’m not saying I’m the perfect person, but just to help — just to help,” Kemp said. “It’s a lot when someone just reaches out and grabs your hand when you’re in need and it just feels like the right thing to do and we’ll auction off a couple more bats and stuff like that, but I just feel like — go out there and try to be a good person. That’s it, and like I always say, people are always going to forget your stats, but they’re not going to forget how you made them feel.”
If you’re interested in donating, you can follow the link here. Kemp also provided links on his Facebook page of other ways you can donate.
Next auction item to help Hawaii below:
— Tony Kemp (@tonykemp) August 18, 2023