In case you have not heard, the Phillies made one of the bigger free agent signings in MLB free agency. In the short time since Saturday's press conference in which Bryce Harper was introduced as a Philadelphia Phillie wearing a brand new number 3 jersey, fans have been eager to get their hands on one.  Their eagerness has set some new records.


Fans who ordered them may even have to wait.

Loyal resident Tony Galante tells me that he ordered a powder blue Harper Phillies throwback jersey.  While the shipping selected was rush shipping, Galante will not be seeing it anytime soon.  A message with the item reads, "This is a sepcial event item.  Orders containing this product will be shipped separately.  This item will be shipped no later than Friday, May 31st, 2019.

The Phillies New Era Team Store (formerly known as the Majestic Clubhouse Store) was open extra hours on Saturday and stocked with Harper merchandise.  A trip to South Philadelphia may be the fastest for fans to get their hands on some Harper gear.  They had as of Saturday, plenty of t-shirts, jerseys, and hat.

The build-up and the fact that Harper joins a major market franchise certainly helped set the record.

Think about it: who are the most popular players in the game today?  Mike Trout of the Los Angeles Angeles certainly comes to mind, as does the likes of Clayton Kershaw with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The Boston Red Sox have Mookie Betts and others.  But what do all of those players have in common?  They have been on their teams since coming up as rookies.

That means, fans may already have one or two of each of those jerseys in their closets, and may have bought them along the way.

But the much-anticipated signing of Harper allowed no room for jersey sales ahead of time.  Some did anticipate, however, and got the number wrong.  The reason is that Harper did not want to take his accustomed number 34, as he felt that number rightfully belonged to Hall of Fame pitcher Roy Halladay.

"I thought Roy Halladay should be the last one to wear it", Harper said at his conference.

Harper picking # 3 is pretty smart. During the press conference he said that it was the number of his father and brother. There are not many iconic Phillies to associate with number 3.  Harper is the (ironically) 34th player all-time to wear it.

Outfielders Hunter Pence and Dale Murphy were memorable players, but barely in town. Chuck Klein wore the number for a while, but he also wore so many numbers the Phillies retired the old “P” instead.  The days of Ross Gload and Delmon Young and Jeff Francoeur do not merit it being "theirs".

The only Philadelphia Phillies player to wear the number 3 at length was catcher Todd Pratt, who wore the number for four and a half seasons from 2001 through 2005.  The number was most recently worn by former Phillies coach Jose David Flores in a major league game.

First base and base running coach Paco Figueroa opened 2019 Spring Training camp wearing number 3.  Then the Phillies signed utility player Sean Rodriguez, and Figueroa took the newly-available 38 instead, last worn by Jorge Alfaro.  Rodriguez switched to number 13 after the Harper signing.  Number 13 was available in case some other free agent came to town.

In Phillies history, this number is going to be all Bryce.

The 13-year contract was signed with the idea that Harper will never be a free agent again.  Harper said at his press conference that this is where he wants to set his family's roots, and this is where he plans to stay.    This time is as good a time as any to spend big on a Phillies jersey.  You'll get to wear it for a while.

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