By Doug Ireland
---- — PELHAM — Red Sox fan Matt DeVits was too busy to celebrate early Sunday.
The 30-year-old Sandown resident was hard at work at Body Rags Clothing Co. on Pulpit Rock Road, printing several thousand American League championship T-shirts with the Red Sox logo.
While DeVits would have loved celebrating with the rest of Red Sox Nation, he knew he had a job to do. He arrived at work about 1 a.m. to begin screen-printing shirts desperately sought by fans.
DeVits, operations manager, and a team of more than 20 fast-working employees printed nearly 3,000 shirts for about six straight hours Sunday to get them on store shelves, company president William Moisan said.
“People want their stuff the next morning,” Moisan said. “You want to watch the game and have fun, but you know you could be up all night.”
And it wasn’t over.
The crew at Body Rags was back to work early yesterday, printing about 5,000 more shirts, immediately trucked to the company’s customers.
Moisan estimated the company would produce about 20,000 of the championship T-shirts. Body Rags contracts to print merchandise for many professional sports teams, including all Boston teams.
The company also had contracts to print about 2,200 shirts for Tigers fans if Detroit won the series. The company’s customers must have licensing rights for professional sports teams. They send blank shirts to Body Rags, which does the rest.
One of Body Rags’ biggest customers is Twins Enterprises, owner of The Souvenir Store — the popular Red Sox memorabilia shop next to Fenway Park.
Championship T-shirts have been in high demand at the store, manager Brian Maurer said.
“Sales have been terrific,” he said, estimating several thousand had been sold as of early yesterday afternoon.
Body Rags, formerly known as C.K. Productions, was founded in Windham in 1994. The business moved to Salem before relocating to Pelham in 2009.
Printing emblems on championship clothing is nothing new for this company of approximately 30 employees. The company has also printed merchandise for clients when the Celtics, Bruins and Patriots have won big.
But printing championship shirts for the Red Sox — or any baseball team — can be tricky, Moisan said. A large lead in the fourth quarter of a basketball or football game doesn’t disappear as quickly as one can in a baseball game, he said.
“You always have to wait for the last out,” Moisan said.
So, when Boston outfielder Shane Victorino hit his grand slam in the seventh inning Saturday night, giving the Red Sox a three-run lead they would never relinquish, Moisan said he felt a little relieved.
Now, Moisan and his crew are getting ready for the World Series.
If the Red Sox win, the presses will start rolling the minute the last out is made, he said. The company would print 40,000 to 50,000 shirts, he said. Employees started work on some of the blue World Series shirts yesterday.
“We’ll have the full staff in here and get some food and try to make it as comfortable as possible because we know we will be in here all night,” he said.
Although most of the crew backs the Red Sox, he said, there are a few stragglers among them.
“There are some Yankee fans,” Moisan admitted, “but about 90 to 95 percent are Red Sox fans, so that does help.”
While winning a World Series takes an entire team, so does printing championship T-shirts, DeVits said.
“We have a great group of guys here,” he said. “It takes an enormous amount of teamwork.”