When I was looking through Photo Day pics as part of my research for Monday’s post, I was struck by these two shots of Giants prospect Vaun Brown, who was sporting a fairly radical pants/hosiery combination. (One of those photos also appeared in Sunday’s Ticker.) I wanted to know more, so I’ve done a bit of digging on Mr. Brown, who’s still a minor leaguer for now but has the potential to have the most distinctive below-the-waist stylings in big league history.
It turns out that the story of Brown’s look — which I’m calling “S&S,” short for “stirrups ’n’ shorts” — was spelled out in an article that appeared in The Athletic last summer. Here’s the key passage:
When [Brown] reported in April to the Giants’ Low-A club in San Jose to begin his first full professional season, he couldn’t find a pair of [pants] that looked good on him. Some players try to hide a paunch or they report a few pounds overweight. That was not Brown’s issue. A twice-a-day, seven-days-a-week devotee in the gym, his 6-foot-2 physique is all chiseled muscle. He has the bulging quads of a Tour de France cyclist who just ascended the Pyrenees.
Those quads were the issue. Any pair of pants he could pull over his prodigious leg muscles were too loose-fitting everywhere else. So a clubhouse manager came to him with a suggestion.
“Man, these are shorts,” Brown said to him. “Seven-inch inseam shorts.”
Then he tried them on. He accessorized them with old-school wide black stirrups, which he hiked up three inches above his knees — higher than Hunter Pence ever dared to go.
He looked good. He looked fast.
“You know what?” he said. “I’m going to roll with this.”
That Low-A team was the San Jose Giants. Here are some shots of how Brown looked while playing for them:
As you can see, Brown had a variety of looks in San Jose, not all of them involving shorts (and some of them involving Nike-branded sanitary socks, ewww). But he soon earned a promotion to the High-A Eugene Emeralds, where he really appears to have leaned into the S&S combo:
One thing that’s clear from those photos: Contrary to what was stated by The Athletic, Brown isn’t pulling his stirrups over his knee. The stirrups just go over his calf, but he also wears black tights that fill in the gap between the bottom of the shorts and the top of the stirrup.
Want to see how that combo looks in action? Here are some video highlights of Brown’s time in Eugene:
Brown was then promoted to the Double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels, but he played only one game there and I wasn’t able to find a photo of that.
I was curious to see how Brown handled his uniform while playing at Florida Southern College. Looks like he was already a stirrups devotee but hadn’t yet gone to the shorts:
Brown had a breakout season last year, so he was invited to the Giants’ big league spring training camp this year, and he’s sticking to his signature style:
If Brown keeps performing like he did last year, it’s entirely possible he could bring S&S to the bigs in the next year or two. It’s not my preferred look, but I do enjoy the eccentricity of it.
Meanwhile: If you look closely at the pics I’ve included in this piece, you’ll see that Brown usually has some sort of band or anklet around his right ankle. He even wore it for Photo Day:
Not sure what that’s about, but I’ll try to find out.
Finally: As The Athletic pointed out, Brown wouldn’t be the Giants’ first shorts-clad player — that distinction is held by Hunter Pence. But it’s also worth noting that outfielder Heliot Ramos, who made his big league debut last season, is yet another Giant who cuffs his pants above the knee, although not as high as Brown or Pence:
If this keeps up, the Giants will have to do a shorts-giveaway promotion soon, right?