BRONX, N.Y. — Practically everyone has a favorite number. Perhaps even a lucky number. In baseball, a number can also be superstitious.
For baseball fans, all of us associate numbers with certain players, especially depending on the era. Fans of the New York Yankees are no different.
With their recent acquisition of outfielder Joey Gallo from the Texas Rangers, No. 13 has re-entered circulation in Yankee Land. The number had lain dormant since Alex Rodriguez was nudged into retirement in Aug. 2016.
Certainly, there is precedent for this, Paul O’Neill’s No. 21 was in limbo following 2001, until poor LaTroy Hawkins had it for a New York minute and the team received backlash in 2008. There have been others afforded that respect along the years as well, presently it’s CC Sabathia’s No. 52.
There have also been numbers re-issued and eventually retired as well. Roger Maris’ No. 9 was worn by Steve Whitaker, Dick Simpson, Ron Woods, and Graig Nettles before it was rightly retired for Maris. After Andy Pettitte left for Houston, his No. 46 was handed out to Donovan Osborne, Darrell May, Alan Embree, Aaron Guiel, and Scott Erickson,
Digressing back to A-Rod, there are certainly cases to be made on both sides when it comes to retiring the number. He won the 2009 World Series here, two AL MVPs was a seven-time All-Star, and a three-time silver slugger award winner, swatting 351 homers across 12 seasons in pinstripes. Conversely, the drawbacks are his PED suspension in 2014, and all of the on and off-the-field dramatics and controversies across the years.
As someone who grew up watching Jim Leyritz donning No. 13 in pinstripes, it doesn’t bother me to see No. 13 back on Gallo’s back.
Honestly, there are only so many numbers to go around in the Bronx. At this point, short of a guy like Sabathia, who will likely enter Cooperstown with an interlocking NY on his cap plaque, the organization should probably be much more judicious with retiring numbers.