The Madness Of Retiring Numbers


I’m going to stand on a soapbox for a minute. I’m a little late to the soapbox because Keith Olbermann beat me to it this afternoon, but please stay with me when I say that retiring uniform numbers has gotten out of hand.

Not specifically the Minnesota Twins, for the most part they do it right, but for other teams across Major League Baseball. The New York Yankees, for example, are going to retire three numbers this season alone.

In contrast, the Twins have a total of eight retired and that is including Jackie Robinson’s 42 that is retired around the MLB.

The Yankees are going to run out of numbers someday. Unless the Yankees go on a five decade stinkfest where no good player emerges and baseball folds or the Martians take over, sooner or later the Yankees will run out of two digit numbers. That’s ridiculous.

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A lot of Yankees deserve to have their number retired, don’t get me wrong. When a team wins as much as the Yankees have, there are going to be people that should be remembered throughout time and history, but there needs to be a standard set.

The Minnesota Twins are close to having one. The Twins only retire the number of a person that is in the Baseball Hall of Fame or really should be in the Hall of Fame and Kent Hrbek. That’s a pretty good standard to set. You get in the Hall of Fame donning a Twins cap, we will retire your uniform.

Let’s face it, the Yankees should have a higher standard for retiring numbers. The Twins look for things to celebrate with only winning two World Series championships, the Yankees have 25 more than the Twins.

The Yankees don’t need to partake in the publicity stunt that is retiring numbers. Maybe they do to fill the seats, but they shouldn’t have to.

Olbermann pointed out today that retired numbers were only issued when a player died mid-career or had his career cut short due to injury. I wish we could go back.

I don’t want three numbers or letters or decimals or negative numbers on baseball uniforms, heck I’d like all numbers to be lower than 70, but someday it will be here. Unless we retire retiring numbers.

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