Mar 28, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (2) looks around the stadium before the start of the spring training exhibition game against the Miami Marlins at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

Jeter's Retirement Brings an End to the Single Digit Pinstripes

Derek Jeter’s final season will bring many New York Yankee trademarks to an end. One of these trademarks coming to an end is the single digit number on a pinstripe uniform. Think of all the great players/coaches in Yankee history who have worn single digit numbers. If you are having trouble, here are a few:

1 – Billy Martin, 3 – Babe Ruth, 4 – Lou Gehrig, 5 – Joe DiMaggio, 6 – Joe Torre, 7 – Mickey Mantle, 8 – Yogi Berra,
9 – Roger Maris,

The only number not named there is Derek Jeter’s number, which we all can conclude will be retired. When Jeter made his major league debut in 1995, he wore the last remaining single digit number available since the others were retired. The number was assigned to Jeter according to a team spokesman. Jeter’s teammate in 1999 David Cone reflected on this by saying, “It’s fitting for Derek to have one of the last single-digit numbers that remains.  I’m not sure if it was intentional, but whoever made that decision, it was a pretty good guess.”

The Bronx Bombers first used the numbers in 1929 by assignment in the batting order. Some teams even used the numbers for the position a player played, for example a shortstop would be number 6. As the years went by, the teams finally decided to create a new tradition. The higher the number, the lower the status of the player in many cases. A high number is considered 35 and above in baseball. The single digit numbers were reserved for “everyday players”.

The last player to wear number 2 before Derek Jeter was Mike Gallego. He is currently the Oakland Athletics third base coach. When assigned the number 2, I do not think many people thought a skinny shortstop from Kalamazoo Michigan would be on his way to the Hall of Fame by now and his number would be retired along with the other Yankee greats.

Here we are now, the end of a illustrious career from one of the greatest players to play the game. Jeter always has been a “pure” baseball player. He has done it the right way. No drugs, no off the field trouble, just working hard, and becoming a role model.

How will this affect the Yankee’s image? It will be interesting because like most infields in baseball, at least one player is wearing a single digit number. After doing some research I found that out of all 32 Major league Teams, all of them have at least one infielder, including the catcher, who wears a single digit number. After this season however, the Yankees cannot say this because all the single digit numbers will be gone.


Tags: Derek Jeter New York Yankees

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