The Great Mo Vaughn on the MLB Playoffs, David Ortiz and Life After Baseball
The ex-MVP's XL clothing line hits it out of the park
Thirty-nine home runs, 68 walks, 126 RBI, 140 games played and a batting average of .300.
If those numbers — which Mo Vaughn put up at the age of 27 in 1995 while leading the Red Sox to their first playoff appearance in five years and capturing the MVP — look familiar, they should.
Vaughn’s slash numbers in 1995 are nearly identical to what another left-handed BoSox slugger, David Ortiz (38 HR, 80 BB, 127 RBI, 151 GP, .315 BA) is doing this year at the age of 40.
In ‘95, the Hit Dog and his ‘mates took on the Cleveland Indians in the first round of the playoffs, the same squad Ortiz and the ‘16 Sox will face off against tonight, hopefully with better results.
To help us, and you, get into the October spirit as the MLB playoffs begin in earnest, we talked to Vaughn about his new fashion collection, Ortiz’s MVP candidacy and who’s gonna win it all.
InsideHook: So how did MVP Collections come about?
Mo Vaughn: Being a 2x-tall, there’s really no clothes out there for that size with any kind of style. Since I was a ballplayer, I was able to afford to have my clothes tailored and have style anyway. A few months ago, my partner Diane Bennett and I came out with a line of XL clothes that give larger guys the same style and matching options as everyone else.
Do any of your baseball skills translate over into the fashion game?
Like anything you do, you gotta go after it. You need to put yourself out there and go. That’s the only way anything will work. Any venture I’ve gotten involved in since I retired, I’ve gone after it with ferocity. I’m going to win the game. That said, you have to know what you’re talking about, you need to listen. We use data to help inform everything that we do.
Since MVP has rolled out, have any other athletes gotten on board?
We’ve got these clothes on David Ortiz. The Pouncey brothers (on the Steelers and Dolphins). Dan Williams (on the Raiders). That’s the type of person we want to approach to get our brand out there. Put our clothes in their hands and see if they like ‘em. We want to be first.
Nice start. How did you get Ortiz involved?
I walked into the clubhouse and talked to him. I have some good relationships in baseball and he’s one of them. He’s my main man and we have been friends for a long time. We talk hitting because we try to do the same things but let’s get it straight, he’s a three-time world champ and a top-five athlete in Boston history. He has the hardware and handles himself with integrity.
He’s having an MVP-caliber year. Do you think this is the right time for him to retire?
Look, in life, you don’t get to go out on top a lot. He’s going out on top. You have to know when to leave and go too early instead of too late. Forget the MVP, this guy’s a Hall of Famer.
Do you have any regrets about how your career ended?
I got hurt in ‘99 and I was out of the game five years later. I left. I have a lot of pride in myself and I’m not going to ever put myself in a spot where I can’t defend myself because of a physical thing. It was what it was. No regrets. I would have loved to stay in Boston but I ended up going to L.A. and then New York and met some great people. It ended up working out.
Any advice for him or other ex-athletes who are transitioning into business careers?
You need people you can trust. That’s the key to all this. A lot of us get ripped off because we have ideas but we’re not businessmen. You have to pick partners who are trustworthy and can help get you where you want to go. Playing in LA and NYC, I learned a lot in those places.
Did playing in those cities give you opportunities that weren’t there in Boston?
It’s the truth, if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. I did that. You can take that New York mentality anywhere — it doesn’t matter. It was a blessing in disguise.
Can you still get it done in the batting cage?
I was just at one with my four-year-old son. He’s got a killer instinct. I got in and swung at 14 balls coming at 50 MPH. I missed 10 of them, fouled off two and hit two. The next day I felt like I got hit by a train. I got a couple years to get in shape so I can start hitting with him.
Any predictions for who’s going to win the World Series?
Sox. They’re a young team with speed that plays defense. If they pitch, they’ll be there. When we won in 2004, I felt like a fog coming off my body from all the years that we lost. I was so happy. I live in Cleveland so I’ll be at the game. It’s going to be a dogfight.
Cleveland? Are you going to see the Patriots play the Browns on Sunday too?
No, I’m not going to watch the Pats. Or, actually, I’m not going to watch the Browns. The Patriots came out of Deflategate at 3-1. You can’t mess with them. They’re right back in it. They’re not even my favorite team but I do think they were just picking on Tom Brady.
Who is you favorite team?
I can’t tell you that.
Whoever it is, can’t be worse than Cleveland. For more of Mo’s duds, head to MVP Collections.
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