Major League Baseball just released a list of the most popular jerseys sold at their team stores so far this season. Not much surprising about the list. Popular teams sell a lot of jerseys, big name stars go most often. Though there is an undercurrent of younger players creeping into the list. Twelve of the top 20 are players who are 27 years old or younger, which is the most in that category in the four years MLB has been keeping track of these things. Three players – Freddie Freeman, Masahiro Tanaka and Anthony Rizzo – appear on the list for the first time.
I wish they had a list of the most popular custom-jerseys and t-shirts in which names of players who are not currently active were placed on the back. Stuff like how many Bobby Higginson shirts were sold in Detroit and how many Franklin Stubbs shirts were sold in L.A. That would tap into the hipster/ironic purchase market which, while small, is a dynamic sector of the baseball merch economy.
Here’s the list:
1. Derek Jeter, New York Yankees
2. Buster Posey, San Francisco Giants
3. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
4. David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox
5. Dustin Pedroia, Boston Red Sox
6. Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
7. Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
8. David Wright, New York Mets
9. Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers
10. Miguel Cabrera, Detroit Tigers
11. Andrew McCutchen, Pittsburgh Pirates
12. Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves
13. Robinson Cano, Seattle Mariners
14. Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees
15. Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
16. Manny Machado, Baltimore Orioles
17. Bryce Harper, Washington Nationals
18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Los Angeles Dodgers
19. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants
20. Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers
Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reports that the Giants have signed catcher Nick Hundley. It’s a major league deal worth $2 million.
Hundley, who is 33, but who seems like he’s been in the bigs for about 27 years, hit .260/.320/.439 with 10 homers in 83 games for the Rockies last season. Obviously he will be the backup given the presence of Buster Posey.
Major League Baseball has experienced inconsistent progress in its efforts at promoting diversity and social responsibility in recent years despite making it a league priority. Today it has announced several changes in its leadership structure in these areas, with Commissioner Manfred saying, “As the sport of Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente, we have a responsibility to uphold and honor their legacies, especially in ensuring that our sport and business practices are as inclusive, diverse and socially-conscious as possible.”
To that end:
- Billy Bean has been promoted to Vice President and Special Assistant to the Commissioner. This is a newly-created and elevated position in which Bean will continue his efforts at promoting human rights issues important to Major League Baseball, with a particular focus on LGBT and anti-bullying efforts. He has done such work since 2014 as its Ambassador for Inclusion, but putting him at the vice presidential level and having him answer directly to Commissioner Manfred increases his profile and that of his mission;
- Renée Tirado, has been promoted to Vice President of Talent Acquisition and Diversity & Inclusion. Tirado had previously served as Senior Director of Recruitment. She will direct the implementation of recruitment plans and procedures to support MLB’s staffing objectives and will oversee MLB’s Diversity Pipeline Program. As you may recall, Major League Baseball has struggled mightily in these effort in recent years, and has admitted as much; and
- Melanie LeGrande has been promoted to Vice President of Social Responsibility. She previously served as MLB’s Director of Community Affairs. Her job will be to develop and enhance the initiatives that support MLB’s position in the community and oversee MLB’s community investments, nonprofit/non-governmental organization partnerships, large-scale disaster relief efforts and employee volunteer engagement.
Manfred said, “the promotions of Billy, Renée and Melanie reflect our commitment to have strong, innovative leadership in place that aligns our industry objectives with a desire to be effective corporate citizens.”
While all of these are current employees who have served in roughly similar roles. A business’ organizational chart says much about how much that business values various functions and initiatives. In keeping with Manfred’s comments, that all three of these people have been promoted to the vice presidential level is a strong signal from MLB about what it wants.
Now all it has to do is follow through and get what it wants.