Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Numbers Game

("Derek Jeter's No.2, Last of Yankee Single Digits, to Be Retired")

When my children were young (they are now both in their 30's) I challenged them to give me the names of the players whose Yankee numbers were retired out in Monument Park. My son created a mnemonic, a running tale in which all the most hallowed of pinstripers played a role.

With the list soon to be a staggering 21 upon the ascendancy of "number 2, Derek Jeter, number 2",  I am quite certain my son's story would now be almost as long as the game itself.

I now assign a new simpler task, recalling the single digit lineup as follows:
Leading off, at second base, number 1, Billy Martin

Derek Jeter, shortstop, number 2, batting second

Babe Ruth, batting third, number 3, right field

Lou Gehrig, cleanup, number 4, first base

Joe D, center field, number 5, hitting fifth

Joe Torre, third base, sixth in the lineup, number 6

The Mick, number 7 , batting seventh, in left

Yogi and Bill Dickey sharing the catching duties and the number 8, batting eighth

Roger Maris, as DH , number 9, batting ninth

And announcing the game, Holy Cow, Phil Rizzuto, number 10.

Single digit numbers on a jersey were at one time intended to correlate to batting position in the starting lineup. It is almost a perfect fit, as the one to nine Bronx Bomber team, in numeric order, forevermore strides to the plate.


Anonymous said...

When my father took me to "The Stadium” for the first time in 1950 I was 6 years old, and can recall distinctly the amazing sight of it as we walked to our seats in the upper deck. While I do not recall Joltin’ Joe very well, I did actually see him play in his last 2 seasons. The Mick was always my great Yankee hero growing up. He could do no wrong no matter how many times he struck out, because inevitably, there would always be another memorable home run or game winning hit. I had the pleasure of seeing all the others except Dickey, Gehrig and the Babe. Derek Jeter emerged at a time in my life when the impact was very different. I had a young son of my own then to share the joy of this monumental player with. Plus, the game had changed in so many ways by the 90’s yet here was a player who reminded me of the glories of baseball the way it was when I was a kid. So for me Jeter represents the pinnacle of Yankee baseball. I don’t expect to see anything like him again. I’m planning on being at “The Stadium” on May 14.
Thanks for a walk down memory lane.

Jack Epstein

Anonymous said...

Nice piece no Trump.