LOS ANGELES – Gabe Arik has been making jewelry for baseball players for two decades. Create the engagement rings they usually propose, the gifts they give, the necklaces and earrings they wear in the field. He estimates that his business, Happy Jewelers, has manufactured thousands of pieces for the players of each of the league’s 30 teams. You have never received an application like the one you received in September.
“I want to do something really different,” Atlanta right fielder Joc Pederson texted him. “I want to make a nice fashion statement. And I’m thinking of pearls. “
Arik replied, “?”
“Pearl necklaces are for women,” Arik says now.
But Pederson insisted. “He said, ‘That’s what I want to do,'” says Arik. “And that’s what we did”.
Pederson has been elusive when it comes to the inspiration behind his new fashion statement. On several occasions she has said, “I just saw the pearls and I was like, you know what? That looks great “; that there is no story, it’s just” a bad bitch “; and” It’s a mystery to everyone. They will never know. “
Whatever their origin, the pearls seem to be working. Since his debut on Sept. 29, Pederson has a .953 OPS and one home run for every nine at-bats. Atlanta is 10–4 with a pennant victory. The team has started selling replica strands at the stadium for $ 5. When Atlanta legend Dale Murphy threw the first pitch before Game 2 of the National League Championship Series, he first pulled out a pearl necklace from his pocket and wrapped them around his neck.
Arik finds the attention disconcerting. “This pearl necklace is not very expensive,” he says. “They are really nice, high-quality pearls, but the retail price is four thousand dollars. … He’s got gold chains with diamonds for, like, $ 40,000. But this, I don’t know. Everyone talks about it, everyone wears it. “
In fact, manager Brian Snitker laughs every time he looks at the Truist Park jumbotron between innings. “You look at the big screen in Atlanta and you have all these, you know, big, tough, tough guys and they’ve got pearls,” he says. “And all the ladies, like, they went into their jewelry boxes and took out their pearls. So shoot, I’m fine with that. I’m not going to wear them, but … ”
Those women’s pearls are probably about eight millimeters in diameter. Pederson told Arik that that wouldn’t do. “Make them nice and big,” he said. So Arik sorted a shipment of 14-millimeter cultured pearls by several dozen of the same color. An associate threaded them by hand with a 24-inch cord, adding a knot between each to prevent all of them from spilling onto the field in case of breakage. (Just in case, Happy Jewelers also has three backing strands on hand ready for the night.) Arik finished the necklace with a lobster clasp. “It’s a little more masculine,” he says.
At first, she mentioned to Pederson that pearls come in different colors. Would you like to try the black ones? “No,” Pederson said. “I’m going to keep the target.”
Arik shrugs. “But they look good on him!” he says.
Pederson puts up with his Atlanta teammates’ jokes about pearls, but it’s the Dodgers, who he played for until a year ago, who cause him the most pain. A group of them contacted him on FaceTime before the series began demanding an explanation. They didn’t get one.
“Joc is doing something different there,” catcher Austin Barnes says, laughing. “It is a strange cat.”
Barnes bears some responsibility for all of this, as the initial intermediary between Pederson and Arik. The thread connecting Happy Jewelers to MLB is winding: Arik says he was introduced to the White Sox slugger by a relative of Frank Thomas, who then told his Chicago teammates about Happy Jewelers. Micah Johnson was traded to Los Angeles in 2015 and suggested it to Barnes when he was looking for wedding rings. Barnes fathered the rest of his teammates: Walker Buehler, Clayton Kershaw (“He buys things for his family,” says Arik. “He doesn’t wear jewelry”), Will Smith. And Joc Pederson.
“You should get some bonuses,” says Barnes.
You should prepare the paperwork now. Arik says he hasn’t received any requests for pearls from other major leaguers – it would be too obvious that they are copying Pederson. But that hasn’t deterred younger baseball players. A month ago, Arik had never had a man buy a pearl necklace. Since Pederson started his pearl jam, Happy Jewelers can’t fill men’s orders fast enough.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.