Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Hawkins to Give Up No. 21

The New York Times is reporting that Latroy Hawkins will give up wearing number 21 and will switch to wearing number 22.

Hawkins has been booed for choosing to wear 21, a number some Yankee fans think should be revered for former Yankee Paul O'Neill.

The sad thing is, Hawkins wore 21 as a tribute to Roberto Clemente. It's too bad some booing fans at Yankee stadium were too short sighted to see this.

Paul O'Neil was a great player and leader for the Yankees, but he was not the type of guy whose number you retire.

I'm not a big fan of teams retiring numbers. My alma mater, Syracuse University, had a proud tradition associated with the number 44, worn by Jim Brown, Ernie Davis and Floyd little among others. Watching young players put on the 44 jersey and try to live up to the expectations that came with it added an element of excitement to the season. By retiring the number, SU sent a message that new kids can't be expected to match past heroes. I was lucky to watch Rob Konrad wear the fabled 44 from 1995-98 as he added to the number's legacy. Sadly, that legacy has now ended.

Yankee fans should embrace a player carrying on the legacy of  one of the game's greats. Why not let Roberto's number be worn by a Yankee?  Let's have a little more perspective in the future folks.

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