Outfielder Joc Pederson Started a Pearl-Wearing Revolution

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The sun is setting on Friday, October 29th. I blink away the misty rain, wrap my slicker tighter, and walk a bit faster through the Truist Park crowds. It’s Game 3 of the World Series, and it seems as though all of Atlanta is here. The atmosphere is electric; the energy is palpable. As I weave in and out of bodies, I notice a towering, boisterous man with comically large pearls around his neck. “Shoot,I knew I forgot something,” I say to my husband. “I forgot to wear my pearls!”

Over the past month, almost to the day, a strand of pearls has become the unofficial good luck charm for the Atlanta Braves. It started on September 30th when outfielder Joc Pederson donned a strand. It was during that game that the Braves clinched the National League East division championship title. For each subsequent game, Pederson wore pearls every time he hit the field. While Pederson himself says there's no "story" behind the beads, some fans say Pederson's pearls were the lucky token the team needed. 

Pearls have long been associated with determination. According to How Stuff Works, a pearl is created when a foreign substance slips into an oyster and causes irritation. The oyster then covers the irritant with nacre, the same substance that lines an oyster shell’s interior. Over time, the oyster builds layers around the foreign object repeatedly, and eventually, a single pearl is formed. Some pearls grow in as little as six months, while large pearls might take several years to develop.

But one thing is certain: Pearls are as resilient as the people who wear them.

As of July 2021, when Pederson was traded to the Braves from the Chicago Cubs, the team was one game under .500. Simply put, the team had won about as many games as it had lost. A World Series trip seemed impossible. But then, little by little, like a gritty white gem, the Braves went from last place to the best team in baseball, and Pederson’s pearls became plastered on televisions across the country.

Men and women alike and of all ages started wearing white-stranded necklaces in solidarity with the team. Jewelers and gift shops sold pearls “like Joc’s.” Crowds roared when Pederson took the field, shaking their necklaces to show off their unity. And it worked… well, maybe the pearls along with some really talented baseball playing.

Atlanta won Game 3 by the way, despite me forgetting my own strand of pearls. Four days later, the team won the World Series — its first since 1995. In November, Pederson's pearls were briefly displayed in Cooperstown at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. I have a feeling Atlanta fans will hold on to their pearls for seasons (and victories) to come.

Is Pederson’s necklace proof that wearing your pearls can give you the extra push needed to conquer just about anything? Maybe. But one thing is certain: Pearls are as resilient as the people who wear them. As the Persian poet Rumi once said, “​​What strikes the oyster shell, doesn’t damage the pearl.” Wear your pearls with pride and use them as a reminder to never give up, even when you feel like you’re only batting .500.

Tags: Fashion, National Wear Your Pearls Day, style, trends

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Written By

Nicole Letts

Nicole is an Atlanta-based journalist with work appearing in AAA, BBC Travel, Good Grit, Modern Luxury, Southern Living, and more. See Full Bio

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