Off the Cuff with Claiborne: Jack Flaherty

When you think about the next big thing in baseball, it’s hard to come up with a player with more buzz than Jack Flaherty. While he hasn’t been around for long, the Cardinals pitcher has proven that he’s the real deal, even earning a Gold Glove nomination. A California native, Flaherty also brings some West Coast cool to the StL. 

At this stage in your career, what is your signature style?
It’s a little bit of L.A. mixed with a little GQ. It’s cool, laidback and relaxed, but I like to mix it up. Sometimes, it’s different; sometimes, it’s a little bit more traditional. 

You mentioned GQ. When you look at a magazine, how often do you think, “I’d like to wear that?”
A lot of the photo shoots feature stuff guys would never wear. In a shot, it looks cool, but when you see it or try it on for everyday wear, you’re like, “What is that? This ain’t it.”

What do you wear when you hang out on the weekend?
It depends on where I’m going. If I’m just chilling, usually it’s shorts, Vans and a T-shirt. Going out, it’s jeans, Air Force Ones or Jordans, and a T-shirt layered with a jacket depending on the weather. It’s simple, but it’s the simple pieces that make a look. 

How about for a special event?
I don’t go all the way formal with a suit but make it a little more casual. Whether it’s a sneaker or a T-shirt, I add something underneath that’s a bit different. 

You wouldn’t be caught dead in what?
Something that doesn’t fit right like a baggy polo. If I’m wearing a collared shirt, it’s got to be fitted. I wouldn’t be caught in a baggy suit. For me, it’s got to fit and be tailored the right way.

Are your teammates good judges of fashion? Do they ever give you a look in the clubhouse?
Everybody looks around sometimes like, “what are you wearing?” There are times I’ll look at other guys, and it’s like, “man, you just rolled out of bed and threw on whatever you wanted. You didn’t even care what you looked like today.”

If you weren’t Jack Flaherty you’d who want to be?
There are a lot of good answers to that. It would be great to live Tom Brady’s life. I’d also say Russell Westbrook. From what I’ve heard, away from the court, he’s a really good dude. He’s got his own sense of style. He takes chances and does his own thing. He never tries to be anybody different.

Best advice you’ve ever received.
Know thyself. Know where you came from and why you do what you do. Everything around you may change, and people may think you’ve changed as you grow, but as long you know who you are, everything good is going to come out of that. 

Best perk of being a professional baseball player.
I have the opportunity to live out my dream. I also get to travel and meet different people, but just getting to play baseball is the biggest perk of all. 

If you weren’t playing baseball, what sport would you be playing?
I quit some time ago, but I probably would have gone back to basketball. I don’t know that I would have played football, but I’d like to go run through a combine or do something like that to see how I’d fare.

What position do you think you’d be? Quarterback? I don’t think you’d want to get hit.
I’d put the hit on somebody, though! I think I could play defensive back. I also could see quarterback. Receiver has a little more technical stuff to it, but I think if I put the time and the work in, I could figure it out.

If you didn’t play a professional sport, what would you want to be?
When I was younger, I would have said something like a lawyer. But now, I’d have to say I would still be involved with sports whether it’s in the front office or on the agent side—the day-to-day stuff that a lot of people don’t see and making sure the guys are taken care of. I might also get into something like broadcasting or being an analyst. It’s always interesting to see what those careers do.

With the season paused a couple of times, what have you been doing to pass the time, especially when you guys were isolated from each other?
Sitting on the couch got old quick. I tried to catch up with family and friends. I had to get creative when working out since I couldn’t go to a gym when we were stuck in Milwaukee. I wouldn’t recommend using a hotel room for risk of wrecking some furniture.

What have you learned about yourself?
To not always be frustrated because, in most cases, it’s out of my control. I try to look for something positive and build on that. We are living in unique times, things are constantly changing, and you have to find a way to adjust somehow. It’s been a challenge, but I know I’m not the only one dealing with it.

Any online shopping?
Oh yeah, but I had to stop before it got out of hand. When I got home, I had a bunch of packages waiting for me. I had to stop and think where they came from then I realized it was me. Yep, had to cut that out.

Favorite local, and what’s your ideal meal there?.
Pappy’s. Bring out the whole platter, and just get it all. You can’t pick one thing. You’ve got to have a little bit of everything. 

Favorite St. Louis activity other than playing baseball.
On off days, I don’t do a lot. Sometimes, I’ll go to Dave & Buster’s and enjoy being a little kid for a day. 

Books or movies?
I watch a lot of movies. 

Old or new?
All kinds. I have a huge list I’ve been working through for two years, and I’ve gotten through about half of them. The Shawshank Redemption is one of my favorites of all time.

What are three common fashion disasters?
The way stuff fits. You could have a really nice suit, and I could have a $100 one, but if my fit is better than yours, everybody is going to ask where I got mine and wonder what you’re thinking. Another one is the wrong shoes. Everybody’s different though. I see some guys wearing stuff that looks good on them. Then, I put it on, and I can’t wear it. It’s just not me. The other mistake would be trying too much—too many accessories, too much layering, too much trying to fit a style or trend instead of being yourself. Fashion is trendy, and things go in and out. If you play to a trend, you get away from being yourself. You stop looking like you.

Who is the woman who has given you the best fashion advice?
Hands down, my mother. She taught me everything and knows what looks good on me. She’s like, “don’t ever wear yellow or dark brown.”

Is it smarter to dress your age or to trend?
You can do both. You also can have your own trends that are a little bit different but work for you.

Photo: Taka Yanagimoto/St. Louis Cardinals

Exit mobile version
Skip to toolbar