Sean Pendergast

Altuve, Bregman Among Leading Jersey Sellers in MLB

Jose Altuve is among baseball's top jersey sellers.
Jose Altuve is among baseball's top jersey sellers. Photo by Jack Gorman
We know that the Houston Astros are very popular around here in the Houston area. That goes without  saying. Over the last five years or so, there has been no local team whose popularity comes close to that of Jim Crane's bunch. Being a perennial American League Championship Series participant will foster that type of admiration.

Simultaneously, we know that the feeling about the Astros around baseball and the rest of the civilized world has been the polar opposite of love and admiration. To everyone else, outside of Houston, the Astros are the biggest cheaters in modern baseball history, on the level of the Chicago Black Sox of the early 1900s.

That said, since so much of the emotion, good and bad, is driven online by social media and debate shows, it's tough to get a grasp on actuality. So what is the real story when it comes to society's feelings on the Astros? Well, short of surveying every member of baseball-watching society, all we have are metrics, and for me one of those metrics is jersey sales!

Unless people are buying jerseys in order to burn them, typically people buy jerseys to represent their favorite players and display their fandom. So, with that in mind, check out the graphic below, in which the top 20 players, in order of number of jerseys sold, are listed:
Well, well, well, what have we here? It appears to me that there is extreme love for the Houston Astros, at least a few of them in the marketplace, as Jose Altuve (5th overall), Alex Bregman (9th overall), and Yordan Alvarez (17th overall) managed to crack the top 20!

The first two players, Altuve and Bregman, are particularly noteworthy, as they are the only two remaining everyday players still with the team from the 2017 championship team that was caught cheating. Furthermore, Altuve and Bregman became the de facto faces of the scandal as they were the two players who issued public apologies at spring training in 2020. Remember this spectacle?
I'm sure some of you, maybe even Astro fans, are thinking that Altuve and Bregman are selling that many jerseys solely because of support within Houston, but I have a hard time believing that they would be this high up a list whose total constituency is nearly 800 players without widespread popularity outside of Houston.

Or perhaps, people ARE still burning Astros jerseys three years after the team's punishment was handed down. To those folks, I would say "Turn the page."

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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts the morning drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the pre-game and post game shows for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast