Pederson, who bought the pearls from a jeweler, has been wearing them since that late September debut. But he had no clue that one pearl necklace would generate as much buzz as it has.
“I’ve done the black chain and the gold chain and all those different ones and — I think a lot of other players have,” Pederson said last week. “But I don’t know, kind of caught my eye. I was like, ‘You know, those look good.’ And [I] texted the jeweler about it and got some out. And they kind of went crazy.”
Like Pederson’s game so far this postseason, the excitement around the pearls has taken off.
Pederson, whom the Braves acquired in a July trade with the Chicago Cubs, has driven in seven of Atlanta’s 20 runs in the playoffs, and he leads the Braves with three home runs. But a big October talking point hasn’t focused on his performance at the plate. Instead, conversations among fans and fellow players have turned to Pederson’s fashion statement.
After his solo homer provided the Braves’ only run in Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Milwaukee Brewers, fans on social media said his success had to be because of the pearls. And after he hit a go-ahead home run against the Brewers in Game 3 of that series, Pederson tweeted a photo with the caption “pearl JAM.”
“As shocking as it was, it wasn’t shocking,” Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson said about the pearls after Pederson’s Game 3 heroics. “Joc is Joc. And I love having him around. Like I said, I can’t mention enough how much of a joy he’s been to be here and to keep things light.”
Braves Manager Brian Snitker joked after that win that he wouldn’t show up wearing the pearls himself, but he did acknowledge that Pederson’s laid-back personality has been a bright spot in the clubhouse. Catcher Travis d’Arnaud said after the Braves clinched their trip to the NLCS that Pederson was having the most fun.
“Of course it was Joc,” d’Arnaud said of the team’s celebration. “Spraying champagne everywhere with a cigar in his mouth. And of course he had his pearls on. Yeah, he had a lot of fun.”
Pederson’s performance against the Brewers helped the Braves advance to a matchup against a Dodgers team with which he spent the first seven years of his major league career. His old teammates had some questions about his style.
“We FaceTimed him the other day to ask him what’s going on with this pearl necklace he’s wearing,” third baseman Justin Turner said before the series.
Pederson confirmed to reporters that the pearls are real, but he has inspired others to get their own versions — even if they aren’t authentic.
Before the Braves’ 5-4 win over the Dodgers in Game 2 — during which Pederson blasted a two-run homer off Dodgers ace Max Scherzer — former Braves great Dale Murphy threw out the ceremonial first pitch in dramatic fashion. Wearing a Hank Aaron jersey, he took it off to reveal the jersey of Austin Riley, who was the hero in Atlanta’s Game 1 win.
Then Murphy pulled out a set of replica Pederson pearls and flung them around before putting them on. Across Truist Park on Sunday night, fans were seen wearing their own replica pearls, with the Braves selling them in the ballpark for $5.
Lisa Williams, the team’s director of retail operations, said that as soon as Pederson started wearing them in the postseason, fans began asking where they could buy their own.
By Game 3 of the NLDS, the pearls were being sold in Braves clubhouse stores, and Williams said in an email that they are “a fun memento [fans] can take home from the park as a special memory of their game experience.” After Sunday’s thriller against the Dodgers, the Braves sold out of the 5,000 they ordered, but Williams said the team will be getting more before the series resumes Tuesday in Los Angeles.