The best-selling MLB jerseys tend to belong to superstars. But anyone can rock Mookie Betts’ No. 50 or Aaron Judge’s No. 99. You see those everywhere. The trick is to have a jersey that nobody else has. The trick is to have a hipster jersey.
You know the hipster jerseys. They’re the jerseys of the players that the diehards know but the casual fan might not, the underground hit that the mainstream hasn’t caught on to yet, the quiet fan favorite only the real heads know about … the hipster jerseys.
So, today, we take a look at a hipster jersey candidate for each team. Remember: You were down with these guys before it was cool to be down with these guys.
Blue Jays: Danny Jansen (No. 9)
The other young exciting catcher on the Blue Jays, alongside Alejandro Kirk, was the subject of some trade rumors this offseason. But Toronto kept him, and for good reason. Did you realize he had the highest slugging percentage on this team last year?
Rays: Pete Fairbanks (No. 29)
You could make an argument that every Rays jersey is a hipster jersey, but Fairbanks is the most Rays pitcher who ever Rays’d. The 29-year-old emerged as a force during the team’s 2020 postseason run and was lights-out when healthy last year (1.13 ERA in 24 games).
Red Sox: Matt Barnes (No. 32)
Did you realize that this right-hander has been in the organization since 2011? And is now third in franchise history in games pitched (429)? The Connecticut native has seen every possible permutation of the Red Sox over the last decade-plus … just like the fans have.
Yankees: Harrison Bader (No. 22)
You can make an argument that no Yankee can have a hipster jersey, but by the end of his first full season in the Bronx, all your nieces and nephews who are Yankees fans are going to be repping Bader. Better get ahead of the curve.
Guardians: Triston McKenzie (No. 24)
The 25-year-old righty hasn’t quite put it all together yet. But he’s going to, and perhaps soon. If he gets on a run, he could become the face of this franchise nearly as much as José Ramírez is.
Tigers: Akil Baddoo (No. 60)
Think of this as a sort of post-hype sleeper version of the hipster jersey. It was very cool to have this jersey two years ago, when Baddoo went from Rule 5 Draft pick to key contributor, then less so during a difficult sophomore campaign. Just about the perfect time for it to come back.
Twins: Griffin Jax (No. 22)
Don’t be surprised if he’s picking up all the saves for his team by season’s end. And this is kind of a cool name to have on the back of your shirt.
Angels: Shohei Ohtani (No. 17)
He doesn’t really fit with the rest of this list, but sorry, this one is Ohtani, for whatever team he’s on, forever. (We also would have accepted Brett Phillips’ No. 8 for a true hipster pick.)
Astros: Luis Garcia (No. 77)
You really could pick any of the young Astros starters, but a Garcia jersey is the one your friends are least likely to already have, despite his success the past two seasons.
Athletics: Esteury Ruiz (TBD)
It might not pay off, given his 6-for-35 start in the Majors. But if it does, thanks to his elite speed and ability to steal bases, it will pay off magnificently.
Mariners: Julio Rodríguez (No. 44)
Until he’s the top-selling jersey in the sport as he probably should be, his jersey is an underappreciated, and thus hipster, pick. (But Matt Brash’s No. 47 isn’t bad, either).
Braves: Michael Harris II (No. 23)
These things might be outselling Ronald Acuña jerseys by the end of the year, considering the splash the NL Rookie of the Year made as a 21-year-old.
Marlins: Jazz Chisholm Jr. (No. 2)
At some point, the Marlins should consider just putting JAZZ on the back of his jersey.
Mets: Brandon Nimmo (No. 9)
What better way to honor the most perpetually underrated and underappreciated Met than to wear his jersey? (Bonus points for if you got it for 50 percent off when he hit free agency.)
Nationals: Sean Doolittle (No. 63)
The bearded lefty is still in the organization, albeit as a non-roster invitee to Spring Training, and as long as he’s still in the organization, it has to be him.
Brewers: Rowdy Tellez (No. 11)
Admittedly, it’d be better if it said ROWDY on the back.
Cardinals: Brendan Donovan (No. 33)
A scrappy, hustling utilityman with a great batting eye whose helmet falls off his head every time he sprints around the bases? Where have you been all these Cardinals fans’ lives, Brendan?
Giants: LaMonte Wade Jr. (No. 31)
Even after taking a step back from his breakout 2021 campaign, he’s still the guy who might best represent what this Giants regime does so well.
Padres: Nabil Crismatt (No. 74)
On a team stacked with big names, why not go with the fun of “Nabil Crismatt?” Last season’s 2.94 ERA is a nice bonus.
Rockies: Kris Bryant (No. 23)
Injuries wiped out much of his debut season in Denver, but that makes this something of a “buy low” opportunity, jersey-wise.