Dan's Dugout: Yanks Use Up Last Single-Digit Number • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Yanks Use Up Last Single-Digit Number

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NEW YORK – The Yankees are out of numbers. Single-digit variety at least.

Derek Jeter waves goodbye Image Credit: Bill Menzel

Derek Jeter waves goodbye
Image Credit: Bill Menzel

With the retirement of Derek Jeter’s No. 2 between games Sunday, the last of the remaining single-digit uniform numbers will be officially out of reach.

The Yankees not only have more world championships (27) than anyone else but, not surprisingly, more retired numbers.

They started the trend in 1939 with the retirement of No. 4, worn by Lou Gehrig before illness ended his career prematurely, and eventually used up all the single digits plus many more.

Here’s the list of one-digit numbers retired by the Bronx Bombers:

1 – Billy Martin
2 – Derek Jeter
3 – Babe Ruth
4 – Lou Gehrig
5 – Joe DiMaggio
6 – Joe Torre
7 – Mickey Mantle
8 – Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey
9 – Roger Maris

When Alex Rodriguez joined the Yankees, he wanted to wear No. 3, which he wore in tribute to Dale

Alex Rodriguez wore No. 3 before joining the Yankees

Alex Rodriguez wore No. 3 before joining the Yankees

Murphy during his previous career in Seattle and Texas.

Learning that the number was retired in tribute to Babe Ruth, Rodriguez simply put a “1″ in front of it and became No. 13 – an ironic choice considering his star-crossed career.

No. 8 was not yet retired for Bill Dickey when Yogi Berra received it. Now, it honors both men.

The team could do the same with No. 9, worn with distinction not only by Roger Maris but also by Graig Nettles.

All the numbers retired by the Yankees are on display both in the Bronx and in Tampa, home of George M. Steinbrenner Field and winter home for the ballclub. Even Reggie Jackson’s No. 44 is there – not far from the No. 1 of his primary antagonist, Billy Martin.

Jeter had no such controversies. He not only collected 3,000 hits while wearing No. 2 but had a 20-year tenure, the longest of any player in pinstripes. He’s certain to win election to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first try, in 2020.

One year earlier, Mariano Rivera will go in too.

Mariano Rivera's No. 42 has also been retired Image Credit: Bill Menzel

Mariano Rivera’s No. 42 has also been retired
Image Credit: Bill Menzel

Rivera’s No. 42 was retired by the team when the star relief pitcher left the active ranks. He was allowed to wear it even after Major League Baseball decreed that all players honor Jackie Robinson by wearing No. 42 every April 15, the anniversary of his breaking the color line in 1947.

Yankee Stadium is sold out for the single-admission doubleheader that will surround the Jeter ceremonies. It is certain to be one of the most emotional nights in the storied history of baseball in the Bronx.

Elsewhere in baseball:

Minnesota and Cincinnati topped their divisions on Mother’s Day because they are the best defensive teams in the game . . .

The loss of closer Jeurys Familia, who needed surgery to repair a shoulder blood clot, could be the final knife in the coffin of the once-favored New York Mets in the National League East . . .

Baltimore’s position atop the AL East became more precarious with word that Zach Britton, last year’s almost-perfect closer, will miss two months with an arm problem . . .

The best-in-baseball start of the Houston Astros was fueled by the comeback of erstwhile Cy Young

Houston ace Dallas Keuchel won the AL Cy Young Award in 2015

Houston ace Dallas Keuchel won the AL Cy Young Award in 2015

Award winner Dallas Keuchel, who sprinted to a 6-0 start, matching Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers) and the rejuvenated Ervin Santana (Twins) . . .

Ex-Yankee Brian McCann, now with Houston, wasted no time beating his former team with a three-run homer in his first encounter . . .

Will the play of rookie first baseman Clay Bellinger turn Adrian Gonzalez into Dodger trade bait? . . .

Don’t look now, but the injury-riddled Toronto Blue Jays are regrouping and coming on fast in the American League East . . .

Can’t say the same for the San Francisco Giants, struggling without ace pitcher Madison Bumgarner and without a dependable bullpen – again . . .

Chipper Jones, a Dodger fan growing up, says he would have loved playing for Tommy Lasorda . . .

One reason the World Champion Chicago Cubs are tooling along at .500 is the mysterious collapse of erstwhile star pitcher Jake Arrieta.

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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