Haggerty preaches new outlook on life with clothing line

May 7th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Daniel Kramer’s Mariners Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

SEATTLE -- The T-shirts surfaced in Spring Training and they quickly became a hit for on-field workouts and batting practice. By the end of camp, they were widespread in the Mariners’ clubhouse.

The front features a baseball opening at the seams to an outline of a brain, reading “A Mental Game,” while the back features each of the 12 possible hitting counts with the wording “What’s your mental count today?” It’s a play on words to illustrate that some days are better than others, creating more awareness and conversations surrounding mental health.

Simplistic in style and nature, these T-shirts have a far more elaborate backstory, one that stemmed from utility man -- a ballplayer for his day job, an entrepreneur away from the field and an introspective philosopher in every walk in between.

“It was just trying to point out like, if you're having a bad day as a hitter, you're in an 0-2 count,” Haggerty said. “If you're having a great day as a pitcher, you're in an 0-2 count. And again, trying to hit on the point that it depends on where you're looking and what angle you're looking at life from or -- and that's ultimately how you're going to feel.”

The shirts were the result of a partnership between the Mariners, who shared their logo and branding, and the clothing brand that Haggerty founded, Epic Soul, which produces garments featuring many of the reflections that Haggerty chronicles in writings. He’s always thinking and speaking on a deeper level -- from how to dissect an opposing pitcher in the batter’s box to the grander nuances of life -- and each item of Epic Soul’s clothing is an expression of that.

For example, a trucker hat -- which Haggerty models in -- reads “Trust Trading Company: Not a Handshake, Not a Function,” playing on the deeper meaning of trust. The latest collection, “Endure,” sells a hoodie reading “harvested under pressure” among other clothing. There’s also a mural in Phoenix inspired by that collection. And Epic Soul’s primary logo features an eye, which was motivated as its function as the “window to the soul.”

“It was a way for me to try to connect people, as baseball does,” Haggerty said. “I've played with people from all over this country and all over the world, and baseball is like a language we all speak.

“And then in the same token, with Epic Soul's concepts of trust, enduring, authenticity, influence that again, all of us from whatever cultural background we're in, have an opinion, have an experience, and that's kind of what I wanted to try to tackle in a very unique way.”

Epic Soul began as a hobby project during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown in 2020. But Haggerty has since hired Arena Prints in Phoenix as a manufacturer, former ballplayer-turned-graphic designer Adrian Ramirez for creative and a social media team that oversees strategy and delivery of content to promote the product. Haggerty's parents even help him fulfill orders.

An Arizona resident when not playing in Seattle, Haggerty wanted to keep his partnerships strictly local to support the community. And he’s very on top of the company’s doings even during baseball season.

“Some of that, to me, is disconnecting from the game,” Haggerty said. “I do enjoy taking my brain away and you know challenging it, whether it's a puzzle or a crossword or making a schedule for our next launch or discussing the next design and iteration of that.”

Epic Soul has launched four major collections under Haggerty. They’ve mostly been in spring/summer and fall/winter iterations.

Haggerty is hardly the first big leaguer to venture into business away from the field, but how aggressively he’s spearheaded his brand is as unique as the abstracts that Epic Soul explores.

“I thought clothing was maybe a gentle way to introduce some of these concepts and ideas and just allow other people to have their own conversations without me steering it or guiding it,” Haggerty said. “I kind of just wanted to be a sparkplug for discussion.

“And I thought clothing might have been a way that it just moves through society, hits as many people as possible, and that it kind of separates me from it as being a baseball player and all he does is play baseball.”