The ace Blue Jays pitcher on why Height Doesn’t Measure Heart
Called up to the Jays in 2014, Marcus Stroman has won over fans with his pitching prowess and big personality on and off the field. He’s translated this popularity into a motivational mission too, creating Height Doesn’t Measure Heart (HDMH) to share his story of overcoming adversity on his way to the big leagues, and inspiring and encouraging others to achieve their dreams. In advance of a special HDMH Apparel pop up at Square One, Stroman chatted with us about the movement, why fashion can make a difference, and how it feels to play for the Jays.
Tell us about Height Doesn’t Measure Heart—where did that phrase originate?
HDMH started around 2008 or 2009, during my Freshman Year at Duke University. Being the smallest pitcher in the big leagues, it was a phrase that I used to motivate myself and put my mind where it needed to be, to just go out there and prove myself. It grew with me as my career grew and has developed into a movement where people from all walks of life are reaching out, saying that just by being myself, that it’s a source of inspiration or helping them get through tough days. So, it’s a movement, it’s grown with me, and it’s because of the fans and the people that truly believe in it. I’m extremely proud of HDMH and it’s something that my family dedicates a lot of time to.
Proceeds from the HDMH Pop Up will help provide breakfast to kids at at-risk schools in the GTA—why is this cause important to you?
This cause is extremely important to me because youth are the key to our future and their minds are crucial to build a strong and stable society. Being in the position I am today means the world to me. I’m able to inspire and encourage on a daily basis using various relatable platforms. My greatest joy is receiving videos of kids everywhere who are inspired by my beliefs in education, my family values, my work ethic, and my ability to keep going and being the best that one can possibly be. I take pride and ownership in being a role model in society and my foundation will be heavily dedicated towards our youth in challenging situations while focusing on education and development. In a society where role models are few and far between, I’ll always continue to do my part in shaping the minds of our next generation.
"In a society where role models are few and far between, I’ll always continue to do my part in shaping the minds of our next generation."
Why do you think fashion is a platform that can be used to make a difference?
Fashion is a huge platform, and when it comes to HDMH we normally put motivational quotes or phrases on clothing to kind of reassure and remind people that they can get through whatever they’re going through, or they can face whatever challenges that they’re going through. Fashion is the ultimate way to show what you’re about and what you’re in to.
Tell us about your style—what do you like to wear when you’re not on the field?
I love fashion, I like everything about it—I like creating, I like designing, I like going to stores and trying everything on. But, I’m pretty diverse—I can be casual in joggers and hoodies, or a good overcoat, but then I also like to be in suits and tailored pieces as well.
Most stylish guy, other than yourself of course, on the team?
I’d have to go with Kevin Pillar, he’s one of my buddies and we’re always talking fashion. KP’s probably the only guy on the team that I talk fashion with and what we’re going to show up in for road trips.
[Laughs] Least stylish…that’s a tough one! There’s a couple of guys but I’m not going to get into it.
How does it feel playing for the only Canadian team in the Majors?
Special, very special. It’s easy to lose a sense that you’re playing for an entire country rather than a specific city, and that’s extremely unique, because, as you said, we’re the only team that has that privilege in the big leagues. I love it, there’s nothing better than getting across the country in the off-season, whether it be Saskatoon, Vancouver, wherever, and really connecting and seeing that we have fans that extend literally across the country. And it’s amazing—there’s no better feeling than being in Seattle playing against the Mariners and it’s essentially a home game for us because of all of the fans that come down from the West Coast. Love Toronto, love Canada, love everything about this beautiful country.
October 25! Marcus Stroman is coming to Holt Renfrew Square One to launch an exclusive HDMH Apparel Pop Up, with 100% of net sale proceeds supporting breakfast for at risk youth.