He gave her a home run to remember on Mother's Day.
Barton, who entered Sunday's game as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning, went to the plate with his pink bat in the top of the ninth, even though a few of his teammates had already put the game away. And he delivered for his mother with a two-run home run to right field for his second homer of the season, completing the scoring in a 12-6 win.
"I wanted to use the pink bat for her," said Barton, whose mother lives in Southern California. "I was just trying to get a hit, and I hit a home run. Now she can go home happy."
Pink bats have become annual Mother's Day symbols as part of an overall "Going to Bat Against Breast Cancer" initiative by Major League Baseball that raises awareness about breast cancer and directs massive proceeds to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Fans play the next big role in this process, because attention will move now to the MLB.com Auction and the gradual arrival of those pink bats that were used and then signed, or just signed by entire teams. Signed home plates and bases with the pink-ribbon logo also will be among the auction items that annually draw a frenzy, and all proceeds again will go to Komen. It is a "rolling auction," so if you don't see a player's bat in the next few weeks, keep coming back because eventually most or all of them show up there. Fans also can purchase their own personalized "Mother's Day 2008" pink bats right now for $79 apiece at the MLB.com Shop, with $10 from the sale of each one going to Komen.
Several of the A's players wore pink bands around their forearms, and just about every Rangers player that came up used a pink bat.
Barton said his bat was the same model that he always uses, just a different color. He said his mother's best friend died of breast cancer, but he didn't use the bat for that reason. He just wanted to use it because it was Mother's Day.
"I was doing it for her and for the cause," Barton said.
Several A's players used the pink bats. Oakland catcher Kurt Suzuki played in his first Mother's Day game on Sunday, so it was his first time to use the pink bat.
Suzuki, a native of Hawaii, said he wasn't using the pink bats in memory of any relatives, but rather because of the occasion.
A's center fielder Ryan Sweeney, also in his second year in the Majors, echoed those sentiments. He used the pink bat on his first three at-bats, but did switch to his regular bat with the A's holding onto a 7-6 lead in the seventh inning. He produced a sacrifice fly.
"I'm using it to supports mothers and because it's for a good cause," Sweeney said.
Todd Wills is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less