Sunday, March 07, 2010

Retired players numbers being worn again: Good or bad?

Phillies Jersey B/W

    A baseball player whose number is retired by a team has a special place in that team’s history. Consider the fact that with the Phillies the following jerseys will probably never be worn again with the numbers: 1, 14, 20, 32, 36, and of course 42 which was retired by every team in the MLB in honor of Jackie Robinson.

       This year in Chicago, the Chicago White Sox will unretire # 11, with the permission of the player who it was retired for. The number 11 jersey will once again be worn on the field by a player on the Sox team. The original retired number belonged to Luis Aparicio and this year it will be worn by Omar Vizquel who is also from the same country as Aparicio, Venezuela.

        This is a debate that has ignited a lot of comments on the situation. Regarding a number that is retired, should it stay retired or should a team or player be able to give permission for it to be worn again? Many players over the course of their career change numbers on their jerseys for one reason or another, and just the fact that this happens makes it a strange occurance that we will never be able to see a particular number worn by a player again. What should be so special about keeping a player’s number locked up for life in a state of suspended animation?

         The other side of the coin says that a retired players number should never be worn again, and that is that. There is no gray area or ‘in betweens’ with some people in regards to this.  There is also another side that wonders, Whose choice should it be to approve this. Should it be the club’s decision or a player? If that player is still living of course. Whatever the case, I sometimes wonder if we’ll ever see a Phillies players jersey unretired and when it will be. There are a couple players on this current Phillies team that might qualify for a retired number if they stay with the Phillies for a few more years, so if should be interesting to see if a the Phillies player will ever wear a retired number that some of us have never seen worn on the field.

              Here’s the ESPN story on the White Sox with number 11:

            Phillies Retired numbers:
Richie Ashburn1
Jim Bunning14
Mike Schmidt20
Steve Carlton32
Robin Roberts36
Jackie Robinson (every team retired)42

 There is also two players on the Phillies with no number associated with them but they are listed as ‘Retired numbers’: Chuck Klein who wore multiple numbers and Grover Cleveland Alexander who also wore several numbers. Why didn’t the team just pick one and retire it? Or should players numbers be able to be reissued by a team?

  Want to hear a show we did with Todd Zolecki about his new book, which is in bookstores now?

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