For Morgan Ensberg, damage control began to happen when he saw his jersey number at spring 2008 training. It was number 21, the number Paul O’Neill wore for nine seasons. pound on the headband and after six years out of circulation, the Yankees decided to quietly reintroduce it. Big mistake, thought Ensberg.
He begged the Yankees’ club manager to give him some new jerseys when the season started. He offered $5,000 to buy a different number from teammate Wilson Betemit. He even apologized to O’Neill, who insisted he didn’t mind. But Ensberg knew he would never win over the masses.
“The fans said it very clearly, even during spring practice: ‘That’s Paul’s number! ”” Ensberg, who is now the manager of the Tampa Bay ranch system, said by phone Wednesday. “I said: ‘I know, it’s just spring training, I spoke to the club member, we’re good.’ You have certain people, it doesn’t really matter when they’re not in the Baseball Hall of Fame, they’ve done a lot and they’re an example of that team, you don’t want to touch that stuff. ”
The Yankees announced on Tuesday that they would be removing O’Neill’s number in a ceremony on August 21. But fans have long since dropped it, hunting for the LaTroy Hawkins reliever until his arrival. abandoned it shortly after Ensberg dropped it in 2008. Tuesday’s announcement was an obviously much delayed announcement.
“I’ve heard that a big reason for this is the support of the fans, and if that’s true, all I can do is be grateful,” O’Neill said on the call. video conference on Wednesday. “I am always grateful to the New York fans. They treated me unbelievable, both as a player and in the game call booth. “
With the Yankees’ announcement, O’Neill left a group that was more exclusive – but less well known – than the one he currently joins: a secret society of prominent people whose uniform numbers have expired in circulation, not yet retired.
In some cases, the numbers seem destined for retirement, such as the number 5 for the Mets (David Wright) and the St. Louis (Albert Pujols), number 15 for the Los Angeles Angels (Tim Salmon), and perhaps Number 3 for the Tampa Bay Rays (Evan Longoria).
But there are some that haven’t been used for decades or more, an oddity that Josh Hader, the All-Star’s closest star, encountered when he joined the major with Milwaukee in 2017. Hader big. up near Baltimore and hopes to wear the number 17 shirt, like his favorite player, Orioles’ BJ Surhoff. That number was technically available with the Brewers, but the team hasn’t released it since Jim Gantner, a longtime quarterback, last used it in 1992.
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“It’s like an unretired retired number, so I just say 17 backwards is 71, and I just roll with it,” Hader said a few years ago.
The Brewers has five retired numbers, but all go to the Hall of Famers: former owners Bud Selig (1), Paul Molitor (4), Robin Yount (19), Rollie Fingers (34) and Hank Aaron ( 44). Gantner has never been on an All-Star team but has strong local charisma: Born in Fond du Lac, Wis., about 70 miles northwest of Milwaukee, he’s played his entire 17-year career. his year with the Brewers and helped them reach their only World Series, in 1982.
Here are some players who have been around for years – or even decades – in the midfield that O’Neill has escaped from:
No. 34, Los Angeles Dodgers
From the 1981 to 1986 rookie season, Valenzuela scored 97-68 and led the pros in offense, innings and earning a point average (100 starts minimum). He was never quite the same after that – except someone who didn’t hit the target in 1990, as Vin Scully tells viewers, “If you have a sombrero, throw it in the air!” — but as the team’s first Mexican superstar, his role in expanding the Dodgers’ appeal still resonates.
Number 19, Seattle Mariners
Buhner has teamed up with Ken Griffey Jr. and Edgar Martinez in a mid-command punishment for the 1995 team that saved baseball in Seattle. He never left the Mariners after his infamous deal from the Yankees to Ken Phelps in 1988, and he achieved his final career home streak at the Bronx in the 2001 playoffs.
Number 21, Boston Red Sox
Clemens has a complicated legacy in Boston, but he has been warmly welcomed back in recent years, like Wade Boggs, who also joined the Yankees later in his career and retired that year. 2016. The Red Sox inducted Clemens into their Hall of Fame in 2012 and have not released his number since letting him go as a free agent following the 1996 season.
Cal Ripken Sr.
No. 7, Baltimore Orioles
When Orioles fired Ripken Sr. as a coach in 1988, just six games in their opening 21-game streak of 21 defeats, his son Billy took his father’s No. 7 spot for the rest of that year. . No Orioles player has worn it since. (The number 7 is prominently displayed next to an infamous bat handle on Ripken’s 1989 Fleer baseball card.) The team also did not release the number 44, which former player and coach Elrod Hendricks wore, and it discontinued the release of No 46 following the death of Mike Flanagan, a former pitcher and team executive, in 2011.
Number 8, Mets
The Mets screwed this up badly. After releasing Carter in 1989, they released issue 8 for Dave Gallagher, Carlos Baerga and Desi Relaford through 2001. They haven’t released it since, but inexplicably they never did. donated it to Carter, a Hall of Famer who passed away in 2012 Montreal Expos dropped Carter’s number 8 (and 10 for Andre Dawson and Rusty Staub), but the franchise omitted those numbers when it relaunched as the Washington Nationals.
No. 6, Chicago White Sox
Lau, an influential hitting coach, died of cancer at the age of 50 in 1984, and his jersey number has not been used since another coach, Walt Hriniak, wore it. it’s a tribute to the 1990s. Ozzie Guillen’s No. 1989, they retired number 3 of Harold Baines just weeks after bringing him to Texas. Baines has returned to the White Sox many times as both a player and a coach – and he always gets his old number back.
Dan Quisenberry and Mike Sweeney
29, Kansas City Royals
Quisenberry, a submarine closer to world-class intelligence, won five Rolaids Relief Prizes for the Royal Family in the 1980s. They kept his number for their use and eventually awarded it. it’s for Sweeney, an early skater who made five All-Star teams in the 2000s. No one has worn it since.
Number 57, Houston Astros, Colorado Rockies, St. Louis Cardinals
Kile, an enduring and beloved starter, was only 33 years old when he died of a heart attack during a Cardinals road trip to Chicago in 2002. It was the first death of an active-season player in the regular season since the crash of Thurman Munson’s plane in 1979. None of the three’s teams. Kile issued the number 57 since then, and all of their football fields still display a memorial circle with “DK 57.” The number of others who died mid-season – including Nick Adenhart (No. 34) and Tyler Skaggs (No. 45) of the Angels and Jose Fernandez (No. 16) of the Miami Marlins – is also of no use.
Expect a few future ceremonies for the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, and San Francisco Giants to celebrate their success in the 2000s. All of the following numbers have been folded up since the last ones. this wears them: for Boston, number 15 (Dustin Pedroia), number 33 (Jason Varitek) and number 49 (Tim Wakefield); for Philadelphia, number 6 (Ryan Howard), number 11 (Jimmy Rollins), number 26 (Chase Utley) and number 35 (Cole Hamels); and for San Francisco, number 15 (Bruce Bochy) and number 55 (Tim Lincecum).
And, of course, it’s a safe bet that no Giants player will ever wear the number 28 again, the number of Buster Posey, the three-time World Series champion who retired in November.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/24/sports/baseball/paul-oneill-jersey-retired.html The Retired Yankees Number 21 by Paul O’Neill