Dodgers' Kemp gains fame from amazing gesture

Centerfielder gives uniform, shoes to ailing fan

SAN FRANCISCO - It was a random act of kindness that went viral.

Los Angeles Dodgers centerfielder Matt Kemp woke up Tuesday morning to find his phone "blowing up."

"I was like, 'Uh-oh, what'd I do now?'" Kemp said. "'I hope nothing bad happened.'"

Quite the contrary -- something very good happened following the Dodgers' game Sunday night in San Francisco.

Dodgers coach Tim Wallach set off a chain of events when he approached a fan seated in a wheelchair and wearing a blue Dodgers jacket down the left field line at AT&T Park. Wallach gave the fan a baseball, and his father, seated next to him, told Wallach his son was very ill. He asked if Wallach could possibly get Kemp to come over and say hello.

Wallach did ask Kemp. Despite flying out to end the game -- and a three-game sweep at the hands of the Giants -- Kemp came over to the fan immediately after the game, shook his hand and signed the baseball for him. Then he took his cap, jersey and shoes off, handing them to the fan as well.

"I didn't know anyone was taping it. I was unaware," Kemp said. "I didn't plan on taking my jersey off. It was just something I felt might cheer him up a little bit, help him out a little. I just did it.

"I don't even know his name."

His name is Joshua Jones, 19, of Tracy, Calif. He posted a picture of Kemp's gear and a message thanking him on his Instagram account.

"Life is so much bigger than baseball," Kemp said. "Yeah, we just got swept by the Giants. But that was something I felt I needed to do and I'm glad to do that. Hopefully, that made the kid's day."

Kemp said he recently lost a cousin to cancer and that served as a reminder of how important it is to reach out to others. The reaction to his giveaway Sunday has also reminded him of the power he has as a professional athlete.

"Sometimes I forget how much people look at you as one of their heroes," Kemp said. "I forget that sometimes, and that kind of brings me back and reminds me. Just shaking hands or signing an autograph can be the highlight of someone's life.

"God willing, a miracle happens and he lives for a long time."

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