The first morning without a flowing head of hair offered two surprises for DL Hall.

He’s used to waking up through the night, the long hair that had become synonymous with the Orioles left-handed pitching prospect in a swirl all over his face. But when the alarm went off, Hall realized he never woke once with that issue.

And when Hall walked into the bathroom for the first time Saturday morning, the day after he shaved his head down to a stubble, he did a double take in the mirror.

His teammates did the same when the 24-year-old walked into the clubhouse Saturday. Joey Krehbiel — whose locker is next to Hall’s in the Orioles clubhouse — let out an unintelligible screech upon seeing Hall for the first time. Then Krehbiel introduced himself to Hall as if it was the first time they’d ever met.

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“I knew it was going to be a big deal,” Hall said, “because a lot of these people haven’t seen me with anything but long hair.”

But yes, that’s really Hall. He shaved his head to benefit Wigs and Wishes, a New Jersey organization a family friend introduced Hall to that collects hair that can be turned into wigs for people battling cancer.

Hall said he cut off about 15 inches of hair, passing the 11 inches required to donate with ease.

Martino Cartier, who owns a salon in his name in New Jersey, said he’d receive calls from families across the country who couldn’t find free hair replacements. That inspired him to create the non-profit Wigs and Wishes 13 years ago.

Since meeting Hall through a friend, Cartier has seen how passionate Hall is for the project.

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“It’s Sunday morning, people are going to church, and he’s texting me, he’s all excited this morning, sending pictures of his hair cut,” Cartier said.

There are several advantages to Hall’s new buzz cut lifestyle. While the flow doesn’t stick out the back of his baseball hat any longer, drying his hair after a shower has never been easier.

“When I’d shower and stuff, having to dry it off and everything was so annoying,” Hall said. “Now I can just get out of the shower and do one of these right here” — Hall ran his hand once over his head, back and forth — “and I’m ready to go.”

His hats, however, don’t fit as they once did.

Hall hasn’t had his hair this short since 2019, and the last time he had a haircut was 2021. Back then, when he returned to Florida following the elbow injury he suffered in Double-A Bowie, Hall thought of donating his hair. But he didn’t know the process for doing so, and neither did his barber.

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“So when he cut it off, we were trying to grab it off the ground to save it,” Hall said. “But it didn’t work out, so I never got to do it.”

This time Hall knew better.

He wasn’t planning to cut it off until the Orioles broke camp and headed back north, but “as you can tell, it’s really hot down here. So I was ready to go ahead and cut it off.”

He put his hair into five or six long ponytails, each wrapped in rubber bands to hold their shape. Then his barber gave him a buzz that took all of two minutes. They gathered his hair, bagged it and are keeping it until Hall can take it to the organization himself in April where he’ll meet a child who will benefit from his donation.

“We have a petting zoo on the property for the kids, and we’ll bring some of the kids out,” Cartier said. “It’ll be mixed with other hair. His ponytails won’t be enough to make the complete wig, but at least part of it, and that kid will know she’s got a superstar on her head.”

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Still, it took some getting used to — for Hall with a double take in the bathroom mirror, and for his teammates who’ve known nothing but flow.

Andy Kostka is an Orioles beat writer for The Baltimore Banner. He previously covered the Orioles for The Baltimore Sun. Kostka graduated from the University of Maryland and grew up in Rockville.

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