Tuesday, October 5, 2010

JBCStyle: Willie Randolph Legend Style

This might be the most stylish picture we have ever seen. 

Savannah Rose gazes in the direction her grandfather points, and two generations are caught amidst a field of dreams. Moments earlier, the crowds assembled at opening day for the new Yankee Stadium roared when her grandfather walked onto the field.

Models, designers, runways, Fashion Week - we've seen it all. But today we may have just stolen style base. . . Savannah Rose's grandfather Willie Randolph played for the New York Yankees for thirteen years. At the end of his career he ranked 5th in major league history in games at second base. He was the first African American pro-baseball manager when he signed on in 2004 for the New York Mets. He played in the all-star games in '76, '77, '80, '81, '87, '89. He was parts of teams that won two World Series championships and on the coaching staff of teams that won four more. At age 37 he was still batting . 324 over 124 games for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Yes, Willie Randolph has been known for a lot of things in his lifetime - but even he had to chuckle when asked if he has ever given an interview on style. Looks like there's always room for another first time, Mr. Randolph. . .

Willie chuckles again. "Well," he begins, "My style is old school. I'm a jeans kind of guy. I love Lacoste. Jhane Barnes is a favorite. And I collect baseball hats - love the vintage Negro League ones."

Does he have a favorite? Can he take a picture?

"I have an iphone. Hold on, let me see," Randolph obliges. We won't lie, it's a little thrilling to know a living baseball legend is digging in his closet for his favorite hat, then taking a picture on his iphone and emailing it for the first time.

The email (with a perfect attachment) comes through.

Photo by Willie Randolph for JBCStyle

"I love this hat because of its message. The body achieves what the mind believes." From the streets of Brownsville, Brooklyn to the stadium roars that greeted only the best in a game inextricably bound with the history and greatness of this country. But Randolph is more concerned with the greatness of his Cavaracci jeans.

"I wore them when they were in style, when they were out of style, and then when they were back in style," he laughs. (His kids did buy him a pair of Seven jeans. Where's that picture, Mr. Randolph?) "I like a simple, mock neck t-shirt. Calvin Klein, Gap, Hanes. And Nikes. I love my Nikes."

We wonder how his daughter Ciara, now a Fashion Recruiting Executive at JBCStyle (yeah, that's how we scored this baby) felt when listening to her father address her graduating class at Fordham University in 2007. There are some moments in life that must transcend style.

I never gave up; if I'd given up, I'd never be at Shea Stadium. If I'd listened to critics along the way, who knows where I'd have wound up. Keep fighting back like I did. Quitting is the easy way out. Whatever your goals in life, it is imperative that you stay focused, determined.
-Willie Randolph, Fordham University Commencement Address

We ask Ciara what she has learned from her father. Ciara pauses, smiling as she reflects. A man's legacy flashes in his daughter's eyes.

"I learned from my father that there isn't anything I can't do if I put my mind to it. The sky really is the limit."

Simply stated. But not a runway on earth stylish enough to carry its weight.

Father daughter style.

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