CHICAGO (CBS) — At least a couple hundred people lined up Tuesday morning in the South Loop for a chance to buy some of the limited-edition T-shirts celebrating the Jackie Robinson West All-Stars’ national title in the Little League World Series.
WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports Dick’s Sporting Goods made 7,000 bright yellow T-shirts emblazoned with “National Champions 2014 Jackie Robinson West.” Dick’s says that all of the T-shirts were sold Tuesday afternoon and that there are currently no plans to order more.
Michael Mucci, who coaches the Chopin Park Scrappers Little League team, was at the front of the line at 11th and Canal at 5:45 a.m.
“The inspiration these young men have showed the city of Chicago, I just wanted to make sure I got a piece of history,” he said.
By the time the doors opened at 9 a.m., the line stretched all the way down Canal Street, and around the corner to Taylor Street. Despite letting people in in groups of 30 since opening, the line was still stretched around the block at 11 a.m.
Birdie Lloyd was right behind Mucci, and was buying T-shirts for her grandson in Wisconsin and herself.
“I’ve got to honor my city; the young men that made front page without a gun,” she said. “To get me up out of bed at five in the morning, it had to be for a positive reason.”
Many fans who lined up for the shirts said Jackie Robinson West’s success in the Little League World Series was just what Chicago needed amid a violent summer.
“We needed something to lift us up, with everything else that’s negative that’s going on in Chicago. This is great. This is really fantastic,” Cynthia Whitemon said.
Dick’s marketing manager Brian Dibbert said the hoopla over the Little League team is unprecedented.
“The only thing that I can compare it to would be [the] Blackhawks winning a championship,” he said.
One customer alone was buying 100 of the T-shirts.
A spokesperson for Dick’s said all proceeds from sales of the $20 T-shirts would go to support the Jackie Robinson West Little League program, although the store would not provide a specific figure.
There are certain to be plenty of those shirts on the streets of Chicago on Wednesday, when the city will host a parade for the team, bookended by a pair of championship rallies – one before the parade at Jackie Robinson Park, where the team plays its home games, and the other at Millennium Park after the parade.