As one of the key pieces to the White Sox rebuild, Eloy Jimenez has had plenty of eyes on him since making his big league debut this season. One thing that has been hard to miss when he steps to the plate is the color of his batting gloves.
The bright red Franklin gloves bring boxing to mind more than baseball, but there is a reason why Jimenez sports the flamboyant gloves.
“I wear them for my grandpa,” Jimenez said in a one-on-one interview with NBC Sports Chicago’s Chuck Garfien.
Jimenez explained that he starting wearing them after his grandfather died from cancer, which happened about a month after his July 2017 trade from the Cubs to the White Sox. He had vowed to make it to the big leagues before his grandfather died, but his big league debut had to wait until the start of this season.
“It was tough that day,” Jimenez said. “After he died I said I’m going to do this for him. It’s going to remind me of him everyday.”
Initially, he wanted to wear pink gloves, but Jimenez said he wasn't allowed to wear pink "on a regular day." Across Major League Baseball, players wear pink uniforms, bats and gear, including batting gloves on Mother's Day weekend. After pink, red became the second choice for Jimenez.
In the minors, Jimenez only wore the red gloves on occasion. They have become a staple this spring training and regular season with the White Sox.
“I am going to remember him all the time,” Jimenez said of his grandfather. “I feel good wearing these red batting gloves for him.
“I said I’m going to wear red and it’s going to remind me of him everyday.”
Jimenez said “the dream’s come true” when he signed his contract extension with the White Sox that cemented his spot on the Opening Day roster. As he lives out that dream, Jimenez still thinks of his grandfather every game.
Before he steps up to the plate for his first plate appearance each game, Jimenez drops to one knee in another tribute to his grandfather.
“When I take my knee down to the ground, I’m feeling he’s behind me all the time,” Jimenez said.
Listen to Garfien's full interview with Jimenez on the White Sox Talk podcast.