Signing off his live broadcast, Los Angeles Angels broadcaster Victor Rojas receives a phone call. A fresh order of prints — featuring Hank Aaron’s “755” — have just shipped.
The Overland Park native’s apparel startup, Big Fly Gear, has been growing steadily since its launch in February, Rojas said. The clothing line, fittingly, celebrates historical milestones in baseball. The company name: a callback to Rojas’ own career with the sport, he said.
“‘Big Fly’ has been my home run call for years,” Rojas said, describing the catchphrase that’s developed over 17 years in Major League Baseball games.
Rojas’ ties to baseball go even deeper, however. The announcer-turned-entrepreneur is the son of Kansas City Royals Hall of Famer Cookie Rojas, who served as the team’s second baseman and later manager.
The resurgence of baseball in Rojas’ hometown — and with his father’s former team — make a great fit for Big Fly, he said.
“The KC sports feel helps us tremendously, here in the Midwest,” said Rojas, who noted the majority of sales so far have been centered around Big Fly’s homebase in Dallas, as well as cities west of the Mississippi.
Tapping Kansas City’s history
Focused on graphics, Big Fly’s brand tells a story, Rojas emphasized.
“If you like baseball, you will like the look and the vintage feel,” he said, acknowledging his early decision to avoid Angels-related merchandise in favor of highlighting milestones from different generations of baseball history — like Hank Aaron’s 755 career home runs.
“Right now, we are going back in time,” Rojas continued, describing Big Fly’s first at bat. “There are a thousand ideas out there and a million stories for us to tell.”
Some of those tales might well come from Kansas City’s rich history with the sport, he said.
Kansas City baseball goes back further than the Royals and the Athletics, the latter of which left the city after the 1967 season. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is headquartered in KC, showcasing stories that led to the integration of baseball with opportunities for players of all races.
Working with the museum’s president, Bob Kendrick, Big Fly’s apparel could feature graphics tied of the era of Buck O’Neil, Jackie Robinson and Satchel Paige, Rojas said.
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Uniting with a timeless sport
A fan-designed logo gives Big Fly a classic look while still remaining trendy, he explained.
And while not everyone knows what “Big Fly” means right off the bat, photos of his family wearing the apparel help communicate the message of America’s pastime online and on various social media platforms, Rojas said.
Click here to check out Big Fly Gear’s selection.
One momentous shout-out came May 10 on Instagram, he added, from none other than Angels first baseman and designated hitter Albert Pujols — formerly of the St. Louis Cardinals — who that night homered for his 2,000th career RBI. (The Angels ultimately won 13-0 over the Detroit Tigers in the May 9 matchup.)
Pleased by Big Fly’s revenue so far, Rojas said there’s more to the brand’s story to come.
“In our Big Fly Brigade, we will give back,” he said.
The startup is planning donations each month to veterans groups, he said, ultimately aiming to pay for a military family to go to every Fourth of July baseball game at MLB ballparks.
“It’s not just about us making money,” he said.