A's lead effort to help young fan who lost home and baseball memorabilia in fire

- The Oakland Athletics have touched off a now viral effort to help a young fan and Santa Rosa fire victim who lost his home and along with it, his prized collection of A's memorabilia.

Over the weekend, the A's received a copy of a touching letter written to the team by 9-year-old Loren Jade Smith.

In the letter, he explained that he plays little league in Santa Rosa and that one day he hopes to play for the A's.

Loren also painted a moving picture of how the backyard of his now gone home served as a baseball playing field for him, where championship games were won.

"I played baseball in my backyard all day loving the A's and making up my own game. In my backyard they won six World Series in a row. But my house burned down in the Santa Rosa fire," Loren wrote.

The boy went on to list what he called some of the saddest things he lost: His vast collection of baseball cards which includes "every single A's card from 2000," 17 jerseys, 10 hats, a ball that he got from a game, and a ball with signatures from the team and Rickey Henderson and Bob Melvin.

A's president Dave Kaval got word of the letter and quickly responded in a tweet that has since been shared hundreds of times.

Kaval wrote, "This is so touching. So sad to hear about their loss. We would be happy to completely outfit the family in new Athletics gear."

The A's then took to its official Twitter account and followed up with a call for fans to join the effort to help the young boy.

"If you'd like to donate baseball memorabilia to our pal Loren, please send items to the address below and we'll make sure they get to him," the team wrote. 

The response has been tremendous.

A's officials today told KTVU that since the message went out over the weekend, items have been pouring in.

And across Major League Baseball, teams and players are also answering the call to help.

The Tampa Bay Rays are among those who have stepped up, tweeting a picture of a package of collectibles which the team said has Loren's name it.

The San Francisco Giants followed suit saying in a tweet, "We're in too," with the hashtag #BayAreaUnite 

The A's told KTVU they are planning to meet Loren face to face on Friday to deliver the donated items so he can start working on his new collection of baseball memorabilia.


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