June 23, 2015
Before Modell’s, there was the AJ Reach Company. Before Eastbay, there was the AJ Reach Baseball Catalog (with 100% less dunks). Before David Montgomery, there was AJ Reach himself. Reach would start making moves in the City of Brotherly Love as a second basemen for the Athletic Club of Philadelphia, where he would help them get a pennant in 1971 before retiring in 1975 after ten years of service.
Post-playing-career Reach didn't stray very far from the diamond though, as he would open the premier sporting goods company in the area. His factory was located in Fishtown, and was recently converted into apartments. Yes, a man with a mustache built an empire in Fishtown that now houses a bunch of dudes with mustaches. The company was known for, among other things, producing all of the baseballs that were used in the American League.
Reach would also help found the Phillies, serving as the first president of the team from 1883-1899, with Philly fans calling for his firing around 1884. (Probably.) The man knew how to baseball, and baseball he did, helping his business partner Benjamin Shibe move the Athletics to the American League as well.
The catalogs he produced featured his products, as well as reports on the entire American League. Our shirt features his 1913 catalog, with Chief Bender (real name, promise) as the cover athlete.