Hit it out of the park, wear plastic jewelry: Origins of Alabama baseball's home run chain
If diamonds are a girl’s best friend, then a flashy chain is the best friend of any baseball player.
From the MLB to youth baseball, players of all ages can be seen with gold or silver chains tucked into their jerseys.
Alabama baseball has taken the jewelry game to a new level with the home run chain: a large plastic chain with a script "A" that has been decorated like a middle-school art class assignment with rhinestones and glitter.
The tradition started last season when outfielder Walker McCleney made a trip to a local drugstore and bought the gag gift to show his friends.
McCleney brought the chain into the clubhouse and pitched his idea to T.J. Reeves.
After each home run, players would be presented with this gaudy piece of jewelry to wear in the dugout. The baseball twist on Alabama football’s turnover belt took off.
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“Bringing that chain out just brings a lot of excitement to the players,” said Reeves. “I mean, who doesn’t want to put that chain on?”
Junior closer Chase Lee nodded along.
“I think if you ask any pitcher in the dugout, they would love to take a hack just to try it on,” said Lee.
Alabama ranks sixth in the SEC with 49 home runs and catcher Sam Praytor is fourth in the conference with 11.
The home run chain has become a prized commodity in the dugout, one that adds that little extra boost of adrenaline on a well-struck ball.
It has become an integral part of the Alabama dugout, but on the road trip to Charleston, there was a problem.
As the team unloaded bags of equipment, uniforms and cleats, there was one thing missing.
With Reeves not traveling due to injury, no one had thought to grab the chain.
“We had probably the lowest point of the season,” quipped coach Brad Bohannon. “It was very traumatic.”
Bohannon joked that Reeves was to blame for the incident. Reeves accepted this admonishment with a smile.
Alabama survived the road trip, winning the weekend series against Charleston and hitting three home runs.
When the team returned, Reeves was officially put in charge of keeping track of the chain and making sure it was always present in the dugout.
“If we hit a tank at some point going forward and that chain is not put on, it is officially T.J.’s fault,” said Bohannon.
Alabama (23-13, 7-8 SEC) is scheduled to play Kentucky (22-12, 7-8) this weekend at Kentucky Proud Park in Lexington, Kentucky. Games are set for Friday at 5:30 p.m. CT, Saturday at 1 p.m. CT and Sunday at noon CT and can be viewed on SEC Network+.