Randy Johnson honors Farmer in Hall of Fame speech


Alex Hider

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Right now, Ohio State pitcher Zach Farmer is in a fight for his life for the second time. Luckily, he has one of the greatest of all time in his corner.

Last week, the Piketon High School grad got a call from Hall of Fame inductee Randy Johnson, his favorite baseball player. The two talked baseball for a few hours and Johnson offered his support.

Then, with millions watching during Johnson’s Hall of Fame Induction speech on Sunday, he took the time to share Farmer’s story to the world.

“Zach, I love you. I’ve never met you before, but hang in there,” Johnson said from the podium in Cooperstown.

Johnson was visibly emotional during his speech and received a hearty round of applause from the crowd after sharing Farmer’s story.

Gene Bumgardner, Farmer’s high school baseball coach at Piketon, isn’t sure how Johnson got in touch with Farmer, but was blown away by the Hall-of-Famer’s generosity.

“The greatest day of that guy’s career and he reaches out to a kid he doesn’t even know,” Bumgardner said.

In May, Farmer told the Daily Times that he had been cancer-free for nearly a year and that he hoped to be back on the mound for Ohio State in fall. However, on July 15, Farmer tweeted that his leukemia had returned. Days later, doctors also found a tumor which they deemed inoperable, giving him about a month to live.

However, Farmer’s prognosis has improved since rediscovering the cancer. His liver condition has improved, allowing him to begin chemo treatments. According to Bumgardner, doctors hope to shrink the tumor and eventually operate to remove the rest.

“They’re dealing with a doctor out of Houston…one of the best cancer doctors in the country,” Bumgardner said.

The cancer’s return hasn’t slowed down Farmer. He celebrated his 21st birthday on Monday, and married his girlfriend late last month.

Those interested in helping Farmer with his fight can donate to the family at any Atomic Credit Union location by contributing to the “Farmer Family Fund.” Those donations will go directly to family expenses, such as gas money for trips to Columbus. You can also donate through Ohio State at ZF11.org.

Reach Alex Hider at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931 or on Twitter @PDTSportsWriter

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