One door closes, another opens. The cliché works for Ray “Digmi” Navarrete, 35, who Sports Illustrated called, “the greatest Long Island Duck ever.” The second baseman, who played for eight seasons with the team and is the all-time franchise leader in games played, hits, home runs, RBIs, runs and doubles, retired this season. Next playing field?
Fashion. That’s where the “Digmi” comes in. Back in the day when Navarrete was with the Pittsburgh Pirates farm club, he was such a dapper dresser that his teammates dubbed him, “Dig me,” which ultimately morphed into “Digmi.” (It’s pronounced the same way.)
“It was like a million-dollar nickname,” says Navarrete who started to dabble in fashion in 2004. He recalls a day that he was close to “getting up to the major leagues,” with scouts watching him and he struck out four times.” “I felt so bad but someone said, ‘sometimes you just got to tip your hat.’” His now signature logo is just that … a man tipping his hat. “Tipping your hat is super positive, it’s an acknowledgement,” says Navarrete who pegs the gesture and logo as old school polite with a modern twist.
Last year, he opened a retail shop in Port Washington, (he lives in town, too) that sells Digmi goods including tees, hats, polos, sweatshirts and hoodies ranging in price from $20 -$50, most emblazoned with “the hat tipping guy in the tie,” or his life motto, “Live. Dream. Be.” The space, an old furriers’ shop, has a hip-meets-athletic vibe, with its cement floors and locker displays. Down the road, he hopes to expand into sneakers and denim.
Some big names have already sported the Digmi brand including Red Sox slugger Big Papi (as in David Ortiz), Toronto Blue Jay right fielder Jose Bautista, and Baltimore Raven’s running back Ray Rice. Actor Kevin James of CBS hit, “King of Queens,” donned a Digmi cap last summer while out promoting his movie “Grown Ups.”
Last week, Navarrete, celebrated the store’s one-year anniversary with a big party. “I knew baseball was going to end sometime,” he says. “Before this, I had one foot on the playing field and one foot in fashion, but now this is fulltime, everyday, 100%. I am excited. And I am focused.” We dig it. We do.
You can visit Digmi at 114 Main Street, Port Washington or shop online at www.digmination.com.