Not long after Bryce Harper began his big-league career in 2012, he showed up on Major League Baseball’s list of top-selling jerseys.
The league periodically releases these lists of top sellers — based on MLB.com/shop figures — and by the end of 2012, Harper ranked fourth, behind Derek Jeter, Josh Hamilton and Ichiro, and just ahead of Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen.
As far as I can tell, MLB has released sales figures four times since then: nearing the 2013 all-star break, at the end of the 2013 season, at the beginning of the 2014 season and this week, nearing the 2014 all-star break break. And Harper is one of only four men to have appeared on each of those lists.
The others? Shoe-in Hall of Famer Jeter, reigning NL MVP McCutchen and Trout, the two-time AL MVP runner-up.
(The first list mentioned above included just 10 names. The next four lists included 20 names.)
So it’s true that this marks something of a new low for Harper, as the Washington Times noted. It’s also true that despite missing much of this season, Harper remains in a pretty elite group. As far as jersey sales go.
(Ted Berg recently argued that Harper is among the five most famous MLB players, along with Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz and Albert Pujols. Jeter is first on the most recent list, and Ortiz fourth. A-Rod and Pujols did not appear.)
No other Nationals player appeared in any of these lists. Manny Machado has made it four straight times, ranking eighth, fourth, 10th and 16th.