Thursday, January 19, 2012

2003 E-X Behind the Numbers #BTNGU-JT Jim Thome

Tuesday night marked the passage of an important milestone on the off-season calendar.  On Tuesday night, the Phillies updated the roster section of their website to include new uniform numbers for all off-season acquisitions and non-roster invitees.  Per my review of the new numerology, there were also several players who decided to switch to new numbers for the upcoming 2012 season.  I say without a tinge of sarcasm that this type of thing truly excites me.  We're getting closer to baseball again.  Here's a run-down of the number happenings:

New Players
#7 Laynce Nix - Nix assumes the number of the departed Ross Gload.
#24 Ty Wigginton - Brandon Moss wore #24 in 2011.  Wigginton has most frequently worn #21 throughout his career, but Wilson Valdez currently owns that number for the Phils.
#25 Jim Thome - No surprise here.
#53 Dontrelle Willis - How many people remember Juan Perez wearing #53 in 2011?  Anyone?  This is the inverse of the number (#35) Willis wore during the most successful phase of his career with the Marlins.  Cole Hamels, the $15 million man, will hopefully be wearing #35 for the Phillies for years to come.
#58 Jonathan Papelbon - No surprise here either.

New Numbers
#4 Pete Orr - This was Dane Sardinha's number during his two-year stay with the Phillies in 2010 and 2011.
#5 Pete Mackanin (bench coach) - And this was Orr's old number.  It appears as if Mackanin gave up his #22 to non-roster invitee Scott Podsednik.  I find this one a little odd as I can't recall an established Phillies coach ever surrendering his number to someone who has at best a 50-50 shot at making the team.  Or maybe Mackanin just really wanted #5.
#37 Antonio Bastardo - Switched from #58 which is now worn by Papelbon.
#44 Michael Schwimer - He jumped from #39 up to #44, which belonged to Roy Oswalt the past few years.
#78 Justin De Fratus - This one confuses me.  De Fratus wore #37 with the Phils last year and it appears as if he surrendered the number to the slightly more veteran Bastardo.  But why go with #78?

2010 Topps #183
Other Stuff

- From 1 to 60, the following non-retired numbers are still up for grabs - #13, #29, #45 and #54.

- The Phillies have long had an unwritten rule of not assigning the number of a recently departed significant player for at least a year following his departure.  I'm guessing that's the reason why no one was assigned #54, the former number of the departing Brad Lidge.  And it also could be the reason no one has #29, which was worn by Raul Ibanez.  But it's a little surprising to see #46 assigned to non-roster invitee Raul Valdes.  #46 was the number worn by former Phillie Ryan Madson since he switched from #63 following the 2008 season.

- The low numbers assigned to some of the non-roster invitees surprise me.  (See the sidebar at left.)  Only the back-up catchers received high numbers.

- Non-roster invitee Brian Sanches was given the same number (#48) he had during his first stint with the team back in 2006 and 2007.

- Austin Hyatt and B.J. Rosenberg aren't listed on the team's non-roster invitee listing, despite their invitations to Spring Training.  I'll go ahead and predict these guys will end up with #65, #67 or #68.


Matthew Appleton said...

I know that the Phillies official policy these days is that they only retire numbers for Hall of Famers (let's ignore that Ashburn's, Schmidt's and Carlton's numbers were all retired before induction), but I'm still surprised that they let Kendrick take Schilling's #38 back in '07 and that he's still wearing it today. I know his induction is no sure thing and there's no guarantee that he'll go in as a Phillie, but I think there is a really good case to be made for retiring the number.

(From 14,000 Phillies -- for some reason Blogger is having problems with OpenID and captchas today)

Jim said...

The #38 assignment surprised me as well.

I like that #45 is given out very sparingly. Tug won't make it into the Hall and there have been guys who have worn it since his retirement, but they won't give #45 to just "anyone."

(Although bench coach Pete Mackanin wore the number before giving it up to Pedro in 2009.)

Matthew Appleton said...

I was originally going to leave a quick comment stating that letting Mike Mimbs wear #45 in the mid-90s didn't show the number much respect. Then I decided to take the time to see who wore #45 since McGraw. The list is as follows: Pedro Martinez, Tom Gordon, Chris Brock, Jeff Brantley, Yorkis Perez, Danny Tartabull, Mike Mimbs (who had to give it back to Mulholland on his brief return), Tom Eden, Terry Mulholland, Dave Palmer & Greg Jelks.

(All info gathered from

deal said...

BTNGU-JT has got to be one of the longest card numbers out there.

Jim said...

14k - Yikes on that list. I thought they were more selective when handing #45 out, but my memory was totally wrong. I recall Gordon taking the number and specifically mentioning how honored he was to wear it considering it was Tug's number. He, Pedro, Mulholland and maybe Tartabull (since he was established at the time) get passes. The other guys (I'm looking right at you Chris Brock) should have been forced to go with their second choices.

Phungo - I felt ridiculous just typing that "number."

Jim from Downingtown said...

De Fratus wore #37 with the Phils last year and it appears as if he surrendered the number to the slightly more veteran Bastardo. But why go with #78?

Maybe he's a hockey fan, where the high numbers are worn by the elite players, not non-roster scrubs looking to catch on.