February 2010

The Tales Behind The Tattoos

I’m not a big tattoo guy.


I suppose I don’t mind something small and personal, but I can’t imagine covering my body like it’s graffiti on a playground wall.  I often wonder if the heavily-inked generation will still like their tattoos when they get older and the artwork is stretched out over sagging skin.


If that makes me sound old and unhip that’s OK – I’m both.


But here’s what I do like – the tales behind the tats.  In recent years I’ve talked to several Pawtucket players about their ink.  Here are a few of the more interesting stories.


Joe McEwing has a tattoo on his shoulder that says, “Can’t Do It.”  It was a motivational reminder of all the people that told him he would never be a major leaguer.


Lincoln Holdzkom is covered with tattoos including a skeleton head eating an eyeball.  He lost count of how many tattoos he had, but can tell you approximately how many hours he has spent in the tattoo parlor chair.


Trent Durrington has a tattoo that says DMD 2010.  The letters were for the last names of Durrington and two of his friends who planned to drive their motorcycles around the continent of Australia in the year 2010.  I wonder if that is in the works?


Chip Ambres has several tattoos including a cougar on his arm and a panther on his chest (he’s a fan of big cats).  He also has a tattoo of a lock while his wife has a tattoo of a key to show their bond.


David Pauley has the date of his major league debut tattooed on his arm.  It signifies that he proved the doctors wrong who said he couldn’t take part in sports after battling an illness called lorenzo trachea malacia as a kid.


Aaron Bates has his father’s initials on one arm and his mother’s maiden name on the other.


Paul McAnulty has two baseball bats crossed together with feathers coming off of the ends.  It’s a nod to his Native American heritage (his ancestors were part of the Chumash tribe).


Adam Stern has a Canadian Maple Leaf over the Olympic rings on his chest after playing for Team Canada in 2004.


Josh Reddick has several tattoos including a University of Georgia Bulldog on his shoulder.


Manny Delcarmen has a tiger tattoo on his back.


The 2010 Pawtucket roster could include a player with an abundance of tattoos in outfielder Darnell McDonald.  In fact, when I spoke to him recently, he was already anticipating his next tattoo since his wife is due to deliver their second child this week.  


“There will definitely be some new ones after the baby is born,” McDonald told me.  “For me, the tattoos are therapeutic and when it’s all said and done, you’ll be able to see my life history on my body.  Things that I’ve been through . . . the people that mean a lot to me . . . religion . . . those are the things that are the basis for my tattoos.”


I’d love to hear from you.  The address is dhoard@pawsox.com.


And if you Twitter, you can follow my tweets at http://twitter.com/Dan_Hoard