Hamm is a 12 year old boy. He loves the
Astros, St. Thomas High School Eagles, golf,
Boy Scouts, the movies, school, and cheeseburgers.
Zach is normal in almost every way, save
for one big distinction: He suffers from
a rare genetic disorder called Ectodermal
Dysplasias (ED), which affects approximately
one in 10,000 births. ED is not a single
disorder. It is a group of heritable disorders
causing the hair, teeth, nails and glands
to develop and function abnormally. More
than 100 different syndromes have been identified.
Zach has Ectodermal defect
with skeletal abnormalities. Zach has
two toes on his right foot and one toe
on his left foot. Zach has finger and
rib anomalies as well. Zach also is missing
several adult teeth. Zach has sweat glands
but they are not fully functional so he
struggles to control his body temperature,
particularly in the heat. Zach has had
eight major surgeries in his young life
with many more to come. Zach is also in
the early stages of a long Orthodontia
None of these things have
slowed him down. Zach has a zest for life
that is amazing to watch. He loves to
play baseball and loves his team the 12U
Mudcats. The Mudcats have won three league
championships. Zach also loves to play
tournament golf. He has played in over
30 golf tournaments winning 8 times and
collecting medals in 18 others. Zach is
an excellent student and a decorated Boy
"It's cool to be me,"
Zach says. "Sure, I have a rare syndrome
and in a way I'm different from other
kids. If someone asks what's wrong with
me, I just tell them, 'Nothing. This is
how God made me.'
"I'm thankful for having
a great family that takes care of me,
and for having so many other people who
understand and support me. Nothing really
slows me down, and nothing ever will."
From the Pages of
My Baseball Journey
Don't Sweat It
Many big league
managers employ a bench coach as their right-hand
man, someone with whom to talk strategy and
lean on in the decision-making process. At St.
Thomas High School, former Houston Astros great
Craig Biggio-coach of the Eagles-has one on
his club. He's a little shorter-and younger-than
you might expect, but Zach Hamm is an important
part of the St. Thomas baseball team.
Zach Hamm looks
like he could be a bat boy or perhaps the team
mascot. He sort of assumes the latter role,
but what he specializes in is offering wisdom
beyond his years, plus advice and encouragement
which lifts the spirits of everyone on the Eagle
team. Craig Biggio will tell you Zach was an
instrumental part of St. Thomas's back-to-back
have to be around Zach for very long to know
he's a winner," Biggio says. "Given
everything he's been through in his life, he's
also an inspiration.
own way, Zach commands respect. When he offers
advice to our guys, they listen. He offers me
suggestions from time to time and, you know,
sometimes his way of thinking about baseball
makes a lot of sense."