Daily Archives: August 14, 2013

August 14, 2013

A jersey that shouldn’t be so hard to find

Chris Denorfia rookie card

A Google image search for "Reds Chris Denorfia" turns up almost as little as a search for "Denorfia Reds jersey." This image via Crinkly Wrappers.

The couple series the Reds have had against the Padres recently have had me thinking about Chris Denorfia. These days, Denorfia is a backup outfielder for the Padres, but he came up with the Reds, and I was always very fond of the guy. The Reds traded him to the A’s for 2 players to be named later in 2007. At that time he was in the middle of an injury that had him out for the year, making it a most stupid time to trade him, like selling Apple stock before Steve Jobs returned in 1996. Stupider, actually, because Denorfia was always expected to return; all the MBAs in the world wouldn’t have seen that Jobs thing coming at the time he left.

I was pretty mad about the trade at the time, and people said I was overreacting, but time has proven me right. The two PTBNLs were Marcus McBeth and Ben Jukich. If you don’t know who those guys are, I’m not surprised. Whereas Denorfia has provided 7.8 WAR in the time since he left the Reds, McBeth contributed -0.1 WAR in his 23 games with the Reds before he never played in the majors again. Jukich, on the other hand, never cracked the majors in the first place. McBeth got picked up off waivers while Jukich retired after three years in the minors: the Reds didn’t get anything out of either of them.

So, it was clearly a trade that the Reds lost. And it’s too bad, because we could have used another outfield option in the time since 2006. His .264/.324/.387 this year might not make him stellar, but Chris Heisey’s line is .206/.254/.369. Denorfia is only making $2 million this year.

I have a key business connection in San Diego, so I have reason to travel out there from time to time. It occurred to me that it would be funny to go to a home Padres game wearing a Denorfia Reds jersey. The idea amused me enough that I started looking for one, without any luck. None of the likely online retailers had anything for me, so I dropped a line to a memorabilia dealer in Cincinnati whose website made me think this would be right up their alley. The guy there got back to me right away and said that, not only did they not have such a thing, but in fact he’d never even seen such a thing.

That got me wondering whether such a thing was likely to exist. I pulled up Denorfia’s baseball-reference page to find that he’d actually been with the team a very short amount of time. Just 18 games in 2005 when he wore #19 and 49 games in 2006 when he wore #27. With that little service time, it seems improbable that they generated any replica jerseys. No, the only Reds Denorfia jerseys out there were probably the ones he himself wore.

And even those would be few. I don’t know what the lifespan of a major league jersey is, but with that few games, I could imagine he never had to replace them. Home plus away plus Sunday alternate times 2 years equals just 6 Reds Denorfia jerseys that have ever existed.

So my funny idea is pretty much DoA now. Sure, I could have a 2006 replicate made up with his name on it, but that be stupid-expensive for a throwaway gag that all of a half dozen people might recognize. Plus, that much dedication smacks just a little of creepy stalker, and San Diego is too far away for me to really commit to a creepy stalker role properly.

Thankfully, the more recent trades with the Padres have worked out better for the Reds. Heaven knows there’s no difficulty getting a Reds Latos jersey.