Why Do Baseball Players Wear Chains?

It’s common practice to see Major League Baseball players wear gold chains and diamond necklaces during baseball games. Though popular in the current era (Mookie Betts, John Lester) it wasn’t uncommon to see baseball players wearing chains and necklaces in the previous eras too (Derek Jeter, Manny Ramirez).

Professional athletes wear chains for a few reasons. But given that most of these reasons are often similar, it’s best to group them into the three most common ones.

Why Baseball Players Wear Gold Chains

The official rules in Major League Baseball don’t exclusively prohibit baseball player chains, but they can do so if the jewelry interrupts the game or the opposing players in any way. An example of this is if the shiny surface of a pitcher’s gold chain reflects into a batter’s eye, blocking the player’s scope of vision.

Baseball players have taken advantage of the flexible rule to wear chains and expensive baseball necklaces in-game.

1. Style

The most obvious reason why baseball players wear chains is for them to have room to express their individuality. Professional baseball players that wear gold chains and necklaces are more noticeable on the field, especially when rounding the bases.

Far from the normal baseball uniform of the Boston Red Sox, for example, a gold chain will further enhance the player’s appearance. Gold is a precious metal that’s commonly used in jewelry pieces that helps achieve this stylish look.

MLB players wear gold chains that are expensive as they’re made by professional designers exclusively for them. So if you wanted to buy Derek Jeter’s black diamond necklace from when he played for the New York Yankees (or even a simple gold chain like your favorite player), you’re not likely to find the exact version on the market.

The designs and features of these baseball player chains vary, with athletes like Manny Ramirez rocking multiple chains at one time. The one common feature in all these necklaces is that they’re thick and have an interwoven design.

If you’re a lower league player and want to wear the same gold chain your hero wears to your league baseball games, it’s going to be hard for you to acquire it (or something similar) without digging deep into your pockets. You can, however, wear gold chains that are different but cheaper.

2. Religious Reasons

Religion plays a major part in the lives of many professional athletes in baseball (the same with NFL players, NBA players, and famous players from other sports). This can be seen when players pray as they walk out of the tunnel, cross themselves when on the batter’s box, or in this case, when baseball players wear jewelry that symbolizes their faith.

The most common is the gold chain with the golden cross attached to it. This is worn as a representation of the Christian faith.

Because the emphasis is on the symbol, the rest of the chain is not as heavy as the stylish gold chains. This makes these kinds of religious baseball chains lighter compared to most normal gold chains.

The one dangerous situation that might arise when baseball players wear chains with large crosses on them is if the players dive in and the symbol pierces through a part of their neck. Yoenis Cespedes, of the New York Mets, and Lance McCullers Jr, of the Houston Astros, have been known to damage their necklaces due to in-game casualties.

Whether professional players wear baseball chains for religious reasons or to please their female fans, both types of gold chains have their pros and cons. Make sure to not buy a thick chain or one with a sharp symbol if you want to emulate your baseball heroes.

3. Superstition

Baseball is one superstitious sport, with superstitions ranging from chewing gum during the game to sleeping with equipment, like outfielder Richie Ashburn sleeping with his bats whenever he had a tough time on the baseball field.

All these superstitions, and more, run through the minds of most professional athletes. Some of these superstitions, however, are not as weird. 

Like the other common superstition of a good old kiss on the necklace before stepping out onto the field. 

This same routine occurs with those wearing religious chains too. 

Some baseball players do the same thing every time they play, for example, they kiss the cross for luck.  Baseball players wearing crosses tend to do this a lot.

In cases like these, the chain is a must-have accessory for the player during game day. Most of the time, they have some sort of sentimental value and it’s usually been given to them by a family member, or a fan, etc.

Because of this, the price of a family heirloom gold chain can vary wildly as one might not know where the gifter got it from. Overall though, they are the cheapest chains on this list. 

Who knows, the luck you need might be lying right inside your grandmother’s jewelry case.

What Types of Gold Chains Do Baseball Players Wear? 

Baseball players wear a variety of gold chains and necklaces. It comes down to personal taste most of the time. 

A player can rock a twisted rope necklace, a bat cross, a gold-plated chain, and more. You can find some of these chains at your local jewelry store or on Amazon at a more reasonable price than what your favorite baseball player would have paid. 

For example, you can find good, durable gold rope chains for about $250 on Amazon.

One of the most common pieces of jewelry in baseball are Phiten necklaces. These necklaces are worn by MLB players, like Justin Verlander and Dustin Pedroia, and are popular because they are said to enhance  performance.

Phiten necklaces are infused with aqua titanium, an active substance believed to have some of the properties of alternative medicine. Most conclude that the small magnets from the necklace align with the body’s biologic electrical fields to create an environment where the baseball players don’t strain their muscles as much. 

Though popular, this claim is yet to receive sufficient scientific backing. That said, the effect might still work for baseball players due to the placebo effect.

Conclusion

If you’re a baseball fan, you’ve seen gold chains bouncing around a player’s neck more times than you can count. And though the rules are not as strict in both Major and Minor League Baseball, make sure to check with your local baseball league before rocking a gold piece; the rules might be different there.

The reasons why most baseball players wear gold chains and titanium necklaces are not all as deep and unique as most people think. The above reasons are all common features of players in most sports.

For the few that don’t fall under any of these categories, I’m sure their reasons for wearing chains during a baseball game are quite interesting.