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A sharp-eyed contributor at FanHome noticed that there's some uniform-number switching going on with the Blue Jays. The official site's roster indicates the following changes:

Alexis Rios takes #15 from Tom Wilson, who adopts #9
Mike Bordick takes #16 from DeWayne Wise, who adopts #1
Jason Dubois takes #54 from Jayson Werth, who adopts #13

Interesting stuff. Generally speaking, the lower the uniform number, the more highly the front office thinks of you -- just check out all the NRI pitchers in spring training wearing linebacker numbers. There are exceptions, of course: Henry Aaron and Reggie Jackson with 44, Orel Hershiser with 55. But it's said that when Derek Jeter first showed up with the Yankees, the team knew exactly what it was doing when it gave him #2, the only non-retired single-digit Yankee number.

These may well be only temporary changes for the most part, especially since of all these guys, only Wilson and Bordick are likely to spend much time in Toronto this year. But I do find the pecking order a little odd: why would Rios, a minor-leaguer, displace a veteran with big-league time like Wilson? Why would hot prospect Werth lose his number to a Rule 5 acquisition? Maybe these guys worked out deals among themselves, like the player (was it the Rickey?) who bought the uniform number he wanted from a new teammate in exchange for a Rolex. Or maybe it's just administrative bumpf.

Anyway, the thing that really bugs me about this, and that caused me to post this in the first place, is that DeWayne Wise now wears #1. Nothing against DeWayne, but Blue Jays uniform #1 will always be and should always belong to Tony Fernandez, arguably the best player the system ever produced. Why doesn't the team retire certain numbers in recognition of the great players who made them their own? Maybe this is what that ridiculous Level of Excellence is supposed to replace, but that only makes the situation worse. I'll be having difficulty if DeWayne Wise posts his predictable .220 average wearing Cabeza's number this year.
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Coach - Friday, January 17 2003 @ 10:26 AM EST (#98945) #
For sure, Jordan. It's not quite as sacrilegious as giving Godzilla a pinstriped #3, but the Jays should retire #1. It may not matter; I doubt that Wise will make the club -- if he batted from the right side, he'd have a better chance. On the Cub Reporter's excellent site, among other interesting diversions, there's a comprehensive MLB retired numbers page; he thinks the Jays' #37 is also overdue for the honour, and I agree.

Tom Wilson sharing initials and a number with Teddy Ballgame? Can a frozen corpse turn over in its cryogenic chamber?
Mike D - Friday, January 17 2003 @ 10:34 AM EST (#98946) #
Along these same lines...

Tom Wilson, I knew Rick Leach. And you're no Rick Leach.
_Matthew Elmslie - Friday, January 17 2003 @ 10:39 AM EST (#98947) #
I disagree. I prefer the level-of-excellence approach to the retired-numbers approach. After all, if baseball lasts forever - and we hope it does, don't we? - eventually they'll run out of one- and two-digit numbers. I like seeing other guys wearing 37 or 22 or 11 or even 1. It doesn't take away from what Stieb or Key or Bell or Fernandez did; it's just a reminder that someone else is carrying on the tradition now.
_Repoz - Friday, January 17 2003 @ 12:31 PM EST (#98948) #
Just wanted to give my congrats to you Gideon for the Primey nom. and to Craig B. for his raise at Primer :)......Great site guys, KUTGW
Craig B - Friday, January 17 2003 @ 03:02 PM EST (#98949) #
Yes, I forgot to mention that Primer gave me a raise of 377% over my previous salary of nothing.

Kent, can I count on you to match that lucrative offer?
_Jordan - Friday, January 17 2003 @ 03:08 PM EST (#98950) #
Thanks, Repoz! Craig, I think it's time we unionized this shop. Anyone have Don Fehr's number?
Coach - Friday, January 17 2003 @ 04:23 PM EST (#98951) #
I prefer revenue sharing, boys. According to my accounting methods, learned from The Producers, let's see... eight authors, that's 50% each! (After my administrative cut.)

The Beeah Guy will be responsible for stocking the employee lounge, and subject to performance reviews, we'll discuss salaries at the next shareholders' meeting.
_Chuck Van Den C - Friday, January 17 2003 @ 06:31 PM EST (#98952) #
A cynic might suggest that DeWayne Wise is employing every tactic to make the big team. "Hmmmm, we can't cut #1. That's a major league roster number."
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