Scott Wuerz of the Belleville News-Democrat deserves a raise.
You can read his whole piece over at BND.com (link here), because he not only does he run us through the history of some popular numbers, but (I think) has pre-broken a news story.
I’m not totally how pre-breaking is defined exactly, but Oscar Taveras taking over Mark McGwire’s #25 jersey seems totally like it’s going to happen now.
Scott, though, does bring up the Randal Grichuk #15 choice, though. And I want to talk about that.
From the ‘only in baseball’ files isn’t quite accurate. This falls into the sub-category of only in baseball on some elite team’ files. The Cardinals have quite a few numbers retired and some other numbers that are pseudo-retired.
New players aren’t getting #5 or #51. We’re crazy and even though these new guys might be pitchers, they aren’t going to be as great as Albert or as loved as Willie straight away. It’s putting them in a bad place to start their Cardinals careers.
I can only assume that Grichuk was reminded that #15 belonged to Jimmy Edmonds when he requested it. And I can only assume that he understood the risks of following this:
Edmonds isn’t’ a lock for the MLB Hall of Fame. But he is a lock for the new Cardinals Hall of Fame. He’s also one of the rare Cardinal legends that still lives in St. Louis. He is on TV in St. Louis. He’s on the radio in St. Louis. He owns a restaurant in St. Louis.
Cardinals fans love that. LOVE that.
And while it’s 100% unfair and 100% totally insane, I found myself watching Grichuk flail at the plate late against the Brewers and my first thought was ‘why did he take #15’?
I know. I need a hobby.
But still, this is Jimmy Baseball. Dude has YouTube tribute videos with sappy music:
Edmonds has been retired long enough that the bad times have been forgotten. But not long enough to be ready to totally move on. When fans of a certain age see #15 in Cardinal red on the back of your jersey, expectations change.
There really is no point to this whole thing other than to point out that maybe putting the #15 did more than just put a number on Grichuk’s back.
It put a unfair bulls-eye too.