I arrived at Yankee Stadium about 15 minutes earlier than the friends I was meeting with a clear goal. I was finally going to shell out the cold hard cash required to net myself a Phil Hughes jersey. I’m not one to buy the jerseys of the long gone stars–I wasn’t around when Ruth or Mantle were playing, and so feel little kinship with these stars of the past (which doesn’t mean I don’t get all tingly watching their highlights on the jumbotron). When I make such a purchase, it’s because I honestly think that the player whose jersey I am purchasing will be around 5, 6, 7 years from now (and that I’ll actually enjoy wearing their number that far into the future!)
So, at 12:15, I arrived in the Bronx and started walking from store to store, seeking a Hughes jersey (without a name, thanks). In my travels I stopped into maybe eight different stores. I saw Javier Vazquez, Nick Johnson, even Marcus Thames jerseys…but not a single Phil Hughes jersey. By that time, my 15 minutes had lapsed, and I had to go meet my friends, and together we headed to the stadium. Once inside, I took my leave of them, and got back to the search.
Neither of the stores inside of Yankees Stadium carry Phil Hughes jerseys. One helpful sales lady commiserated with me, and noted that they had finally gotten shirts with his number on them this year (last year they didn’t even have these). This kid won 18 games for the Yankees last season, and made the All Star team! This is the kid that Cashman wouldn’t trade for Johan Santana. The guy who was essentially the best reliever in baseball in 2009. Before we had Jesus Montero at the top of the Yankee prospect list, Phil Hughes was the best pitching prospect on the planet (back in 2006).
The sole Phil Hughes jersey for sale in Yankee stadium was in the Steiner Sports shop–a signed, game used version retailing for $2,000. I tried to take a picture of it to include in this post, but was nearly tackled by a middle aged store attendant. Apparently taking pictures of a jersey with an iPhone is a capital offense.
Upon getting home, I went looking again–first to Yankees.com, in the store tab. No #65! A google search shows up a few dodgy Ebay auctions (priced as low as $170, and as high as $340), and then a number of autographed jerseys at $350.
I suppose this isn’t the worst outcome possible. Instead of my desired jersey, I instead get to keep the $220 or so it would have cost to purchase. But what the heck, Yankees? Can’t be bothered to stock your own stadium with jerseys of your own star players? Color me surprised and disappointed.