When you ask him to quantify the value of Trevor Story, Shawn Henss pauses. Henss then asks, politely, if he can put the phone on speaker for a second. He needs both hands free.
“The one thing I can definitely say is …” Henss, who helps steward the Giving Sole charity in Phoenix, says of the Rockies’ shortstop. In the background, you can almost make out the tap-tap-tapping of a tiny keyboard.
“With what he’s going to help us with this year, and where he’s helped us out in the past …”
“You’re looking at close to 300 pairs of shoes that he’s going to help us provide to foster children with money that we’re probably getting again next year …”
“If you add onto what he’ll do in the future, you’re at close to 300 pairs of shoes. Which is awesome. Especially for us.”
Thanks for the memories, 27. For all the hits we saw. But especially the ones we didn’t.
The Rockies’ last homestand, one final week in LoDo before baseball rides off into the sunset, began Tuesday night. Nine more chances to watch Story, who’s expected to enter free agency after this season, sling it in purple and black.
The Last Beatle On Blake Street turns 29 in November. He’s served a decade on the S.S. Monfort after being drafted out of Irving (Tex.) High School.
Story spent six of those summers in The Show, ever the good solider, a sensible head trapped on a floating asylum. Three All-Star Weekends. Two playoff berths. One Jeff Bridich, which was one too many.
The man deserved better. Sanity beckons.
“That’s the kind of person you want to be,” Henss says of Story. “And then being able to meet Trevor and become friends with him and his wife, that really solidified it — seeing some of (his) interactions on the field, as well as off the field.”
Henss’s first interactions with Story came in the late winter of 2019, through his son Gavin. The little kid with a big heart had founded Giving Sole at the age of 11 after a chance meeting with LeBron James and in honor of a baby sister his family had fostered for a time.
Giving Sole donates name-brand shoes to foster children. The good stuff. Nike. Adidas. Vans. In each package, the recipient gets the shoes, a hand-written note from Gavin and a bag they can keep.
“If they want all-white Nike Air Force 1s, that’s what they get,” Henss says. “With the kids, we don’t want to give them just what they need. We want to give them what they deserve. Not just hand-me-downs. I think that’s one thing that really spoke to Trevor, the fact he’s such a sneakerhead.”
Story was so inspired by Gavin’s magnanimity that he partnered with Giving Sole and Athletes Brand two years ago to create a “Chase the Lion” t-shirt for sale, with all proceeds going to the charity.
The Henss family had first met the Rockies shortstop during the 2019 Cactus League slate. They hooked up again a few months later when Colorado visited Chase Field, even kibitzing during batting practice.
“(Story) always took time, asking how the organization was doing,” Shawn recalls. “He’s very approachable and very genuine. I could tell that he genuinely wanted to help us and to find out how he felt he could help us. Not, ‘How can I get my name involved in another organization?’”
It didn’t take long for 27 to win over Gavin, either. A couple of sneakerheads. A couple of hoops junkies. A couple of giving souls.
“Gavin just loves him,” Shawn says with a laugh.
The younger Henss plays club basketball in the winter months, and Story, pre-pandemic, was trying to figure out a way to attend one of Gavin’s games.
“Gavin, let me know when you’re playing,” the Rockies shortstop told him at the time. “Because I want to come see you play.”
The kid is 13 now, a point guard starting the 8th grade. When it comes to growing boys, the nights are long, but the years are short.
“Trevor Story has been a really good example to Gavin from the standpoint of, ‘When you become a famous athlete, this is how you treat people. This is how you interact with others,’” Henss says. “Trevor is such a good example of that for Gavin.”
Story’s shirts raked in thousands of dollars for Giving Sole. Another event Story set up recently landed roughly $5,000 toward the cause. Which is awesome. For anybody.
“He’s been really gracious to allow us to use his name,” Henss says. “(People) are like, ‘What have you done?’ Then (they) see Trevor Story, and they’re like, ‘Oh, wow, really?’
“It was huge for us because of the exposure. MLB Network did a (piece) on him when we were at spring training … the exposure of that was a huge help. That got us a lot of inquiries of people wanting to help out and pitch in. So it’s been a lot more, beyond what the shirts brought in. A lot more.”