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Why No. 34 Resonates With Former Ajax Players

[Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest entry from our own Anthony Emerson, who’s going to fill us in on a great uni-numerical story from the soccer world. Enjoy. — PL]

By Anthony Emerson

Dutch midfielder Donny van de Beek was transferred yesterday to the Premier League’s Manchester United, and it was quickly announced that he’ll be wearing No. 34 for his new team.

Thirty-four is is not usually thought of as a “soccer number.” That’s because soccer players usually try to get uni numbers as close as possible to their position number. Young players recently promoted from the academy levels of pro soccer tend to be assigned higher numbers and then work their way down as they become more prominent members of their team. David Beckham, for example, made his debut for Manchester United wearing No. 24 before switching to No. 10 and then finally to No. 7, which is usually reserved for United’s best player.

But No. 34 means a lot to Van de Beek’s former team, AFC Ajax, the most decorated club in Dutch soccer. During Ajax’s routine preseason warm-up match against German club Werder Bremen on July 8, 2017, 20-year-old midfielder Abdelhak Nouri was struck by cardiac arrhythmia. He collapsed on the field and was left with permanent brain damage. (Ajax would later admit that the medical care he received on the pitch was inadequate.)

Soccer academies in Europe are different from sports academies in the U.S. In many European nations, top clubs sign players when they’re preteens, and they advance through the ranks if they have the talent. Players often develop lifelong friendships with each other in these academies. So many of Nouri’s Ajax teammates — including Van de Beek — had literally grown up alongside him while progressing through Ajax’s famed De Toekomst academy.

No Ajax player has worn No. 34 since Nouri’s cardiac event. But Van de Beek is now the sixth De Toekmost graduate to have chosen No. 34 after leaving Ajax for a new club. Here are the other five:

• Justin Kluivert wore No. 34 for one season after leaving Ajax for AS Roma. (He’s since adopted No. 99, for his birth year.)

• Joël Veltman will wear No. 34 this season for Brighton & Hove Albion after moving on from Ajax.

• Manchester City’s Philippe Sandler has worn 34 since arriving there in 2018.

• Amin Younes has worn No. 34 since moving to Napoli in 2018.

• Terry Lartey Sanniez wears No. 34 for NAC Breda.

(In addition, Kevin Diks was never an Ajax player, but did play with Nouri in the Dutch national team’s youth setup, and he wore No. 34 during his loan spell with Aarhus, and Reda Boultam wore it for Italian second tier side Cremonese.)

While Abdelhak Nouri will never play again, his former teammates remain committed to his memory. In an interview after his move to United, Van de Beek said, “[Nouri’s] a good friend of mine, and I’m really close with his family and his brother is one of my best friends, and I talk a lot with them. I decided to take his old number on my shirt. I want to get good memories with this number.”

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What a great story! I know nothing about soccer or its uni-numbering protocols, so this has been a real eye-opener for me. Thanks, Anthony!

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Click to enlarge

The best: Word came down last night that Tom Seaver had died on Monday. As a lifelong Mets fan who grew up rooting for Seaver, I have a lot of complicated thoughts about his passing — too many and too complicated to untangle on such short notice.

But this is Uni Watch, so let’s talk about Seaver from a uniform perspective. He had one very specific uni-related quirk: The right knee of his pants was always dirty (see above). That’s because he was the classic drop-and-drive pitcher, dropping so low that his knee would scrape against the dirt of the mound. (When I was a kid, I’d try to emulate various pitchers’ motions, but I didn’t even bother to try Seaver’s, because I knew I couldn’t get low enough to mimic it properly.) That dirty knee was a constant throughout his career, no matter which team’s uniform he was wearing — Mets, Reds, White Sox, or Red Sox.

Seaver was also among the handful of big leaguers who played for the Alaska Goldpanners, a collegiate summer team in Fairbanks. Here are some shots of him from his time there in 1964 (click to enlarge):

And here are two more shots of Seaver in uniforms that you may not have seen before — one from his time with the Jacksonville Suns (a Mets minor league affiliate) and either a Little League or maybe American Legion uni (click to enlarge):

As an athlete, Seaver offered something for everyone. He was an ultra-competitive stud pitcher and former U.S. Marine (couldn’t find a good photo of him in that uniform, unfortunately), but also an articulate brainiac who appealed to the geeks. Handsome gent with a trophy wife to boot. His final years were reportedly difficult, as he was afflicted with numerous ailments, including dementia. The obits say he also contracted Covid. A sad final chapter for a very proud man. Before they bury or cremate him, I hope they rub a bit of dirt on the right knee of his pants. Thanks for the memories, Tom. R.I.P.

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Click to enlarge

Pin Club reminder: In case you missed it on Tuesday, the Uni Watch Pin Club’s new design for September, which features a football referee theme, is now available.

Need to get caught up? Here are our January, February, March, May, June, July (bobble!), and August pins. (Sorry, April sold out!)

My thanks, as always, for your consideration.

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ITEM! Free cash money raffle: Reader Pedro Naranjo has generously donated $30 for a lucky Uni Watch reader to spend on any combination of Uni Watch merchandise, so I’m going to raffle that off today.

This will be a one-day raffle. There are no entry restrictions per se, although Pedro says he would like it the winner to be “someone who’s been wanting to make a purchase but couldn’t, for whatever reason.” To enter, send an email to the raffle address by 8pm Eastern tonight. One entry per person. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow. Big thanks to Pedro for sponsoring this one!

Meanwhile, the winner of yesterday’s book raffle is Mike Burke, who’s won himself a copy of Big Sexy by Bartolo Colón. Congrats to him, and thanks to the folks at the book’s publisher, Abrams, for sponsoring that one.

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ITEM! More free cash money (sort of): Teespring is running one of its periodic 10%-off sales from now through next Tuesday, which means you can save some cash and Uni Watch will still get its full share of the profits.

This sale applies to everything in the Uni Watch Shop, the Uni Rock Shop, and the Naming Wrongs Shop. To get the 10% discount, use the checkout code LABORDAY.

Again, this sale runs through next Tuesday, Sept. 8. Enjoy!

Update: Teespring has now rolled out another sales promo: From now through midnight Pacific on Friday, save 20% with checkout code 100K. So use that one for now to save 20%, and then the other code is still good through the end of Tuesday to save 10%. (Sorry, you can’t use both at once!)

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The Ticker
By Paul

Working Class Wannabes™: A player for the Grand Island High School football team in Nebraska says, “We’re going to be hard nosed. Blue collar.” … A football coach for another Nebraska high school says one of his school’s rivals “have always been a program with tough, blue-collar players that will ‘line up and come after you.'” … New York Rangers player Brendan Lemieux says, “I love Rangers fans, I love playing for the Blueshirts, I love the blue seats [at Madison Square Garden] and the blue collared fans which is obvious with the way I play” (from @_ynnhoJ).

Baseball News: The Pirates will celebrate Roberto Clemente Day on Sept. 9 by having all uniformed personnel wear No. 21 for their game against the White Sox. I asked a team spokesman if the jerseys would be NNOB like on Jackie Day (he’s not sure but will get back to me), and also whether the Sox will be doing anything with their uniforms for the occasion (no, they won’t). … Oh man, check out this amazing late-1890s Orioles sweater! … Here’s an extensive look at Negro Leagues tributes — past, present, Covid-scuttled, and possibly future — in minor league baseball (from Kary Klismet). … Here’s another article about Carl Skanberg, the amazing artist who does scorebook illustrations for every White Sox game (from Mike Chamernik). … Twins 3B Josh Donaldson mistakenly wore the team’s gold-trimmed cap last night (from Karl Anderson). … Cleveland OF Delino DeShields Jr. is the latest MLBer to have his jersey sewn shut (from @bshnides).

NFL News: The Lions are the latest team to encourage fans to purchase cutouts of themselves. And if you’re looking to spend a cool grand, your cutout can sit next to a Barry Sanders cutout (from @pftsponge and our own Anthony Emerson). … Washington will apparently be using the NFL logo at midfield this season (from Nate Rathjen). … The Cowboys have exploited an NFL rule loophole by wearing blank jerseys — no names or numbers — in training camp, which would normally be a no-no because it makes it difficult to identify players and thus hard to monitor whether teams are complying with practice rules, whether injured players are on the field when they shouldn’t be, and so on. The league has now clarified that the Cowboys, and all other teams, must be using numbered practice jerseys by next Monday. … The Panthers are among the few teams we can count on to release their jersey schedule prior to every season. Here’s this year’s version. … Slab BBQ — a restaurant in Austin, Texas — is selling Oilers-themed caps (from Ignacio Salazar). … Pats coach Bill Belichick appears in a new ad for a restaurant chain, in which he pokes some fun at his own sartorial habits.

College Football News: New classic-looking white uniforms for Arkansas. “These match the style of the home reds they wore last season,” says Matt Snyder. … Iowa State, after initially planning to allow 25,000 fans to attend the home opener on Sept. 12, has now decided not to allow fans after all.

Hockey News: New uniforms for Russian team HC Avangard (rare non-soccer contribution from Ed Zelaski). … A Dartmouth goalie has a pretty cool leg pad design (from @OlegKvasha).
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NBA News: Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: For players who are wearing just NOBs, without any social justice statement, the number positioning and spacing has been very inconsistent (from Brian Tracy). … Designer Conrad Burry has created 30 logos encouraging people to vote, each one incorporating an NBA team’s logo and using team-themed typography. … Here’s a weird one: a 2010 Nuggets/Clippers preseasion game in L.A., but on the Lakers’ court. “Lakers played same night as well, so no swapping of court,” says Jeremy Brahm. … During the Lakers/Blazers playoff game on Aug. 22, the Blazers at one point played a lineup of Carmelo Anthony, Damian Lillard, Anfernee Simons, Gary Trent Jr., and CJ McCollum, who wear Nos. 00, 0, 1, 2, and 3, combining for the lowest possible sum of uni numbers in a five-man lineup! (From Eric Bangeman.)

College Hoops News: New court design for Virginia. “It’s similar to the old one except for the new logos and wordmarks, but apparently they also removed the words ‘University of Virginia’ that had been above (from the TV perspective) the center court logo,” says proud UVa alum Jamie Rathjen. … Central Maine Community College has named its basketball court after longtime head coach Dave Gonyea (from Kary Klismet). … Butler’s live bulldog mascot, Butler Blue IV, has a new sweater (from @DBrown_50).

Soccer News: New home and away shirts for Belarus (from Ed Zelaski). … D.C. United and New York Red Bulls wore Black Lives Matter patches and yellow pediatric cancer ribbons last night (thanks, Jamie). … Also from Jamie: After revelations that Real Salt Lake employees have created a misogynistic work environment for female staffers and the company’s women’s team, the Utah Royals, RSL players wore Royals shirts to show their support when arriving for yesterday’s game. … Interesting article about how colorblindness can affect kit clashes, fan perceptions, and more (from Alex Evans). … New shirts for the Faroe Islands (from Conan Smeeth).

Grab Bag: Bizarre uni-related story from Jamie Rathjen: “Australian rules football leagues have a ‘best and fairest’ award, similar to an MVP award. It’s based on voting by the umpires, who vote on the best three players in the match. In the South Australia women’s league, the vote count led to a discovery that in the umpires for a game in June accidentally voted for the wrong player because they confused two players who were wearing long sleeves. The voting was corrected and the two players shared the award.” … Also from Jamie, and also about Aussie rules football: Fremantle wore a white clash version of their Indigenous guernsey yesterday for Indigenous Literacy Day. … New uniforms for the Italian women’s volleyball team Imoco Valley (from Jeremy Brahm). … Here’s a piece about rock band AC/DC’s longtime art director, who designed their logo and album covers. … The new Mississippi state flag design has been approved by a commission and will be presented to voters this November (from Manzell Blakeley). … New logo and jingle for tech company Intel (from John Cerone). … A Ugandan police officer and his son have been arrested after the son wore his father’s police uniform. “It is a crime in Uganda to wear a police uniform if you are not an officer,” explains Timmy Donahue. … Also from Timmy: A Turkish company has created anti-bacterial airline crew uniforms. … And yet another from Timmy: New naming-rights deal for Cricket Australia. … In the 1997 sci-fi film Event Horizon, actor Sam Neill requested that the Australian flag on his character’s uniform be replaced with the Aboriginal flag, the way he thought it should look in 2047 (from @wahlberglines).

55 comments to Why No. 34 Resonates With Former Ajax Players

  • Mike Engle on iPhone | September 3, 2020 at 7:53 am |

    Wow I love that #34 story for Ajax connected players! I’m trying to think of similar examples where multiple players go on to share one numerical tribute. Best I can come up with is multiple UNLV basketball players taking #2 as a pro to salute Jerry Tarkanian, #2 in his own Fresno State scorecard.

    • Paul Lukas | September 3, 2020 at 7:55 am |

      For many years, Venezuelan MLB players would wear No. 13 for Dave Concepcion, who was their national baseball hero. Not quite the same thing, because it’s country-based instead of team-based. Best I could come up with off the top of my head!

      • Mike Engle | September 3, 2020 at 11:15 am |

        Sure, and meanwhile #21 is still extremely popular among Puerto Rican players for Roberto Clemente, and American baseball players in the Nippon League often take #44 because “four” translated sounds like “death” with the wrong inflection, so Japanese people avoid that digit and Americans don’t care in the same way.
        But yeah, it’s hard thinking of times when *multiple teammates* go their separate ways and take that same number. Handful of one-offs though! Eric Hosmer taking Yordano Ventura’s #30 from Kansas City to San Diego (but I don’t know of any other ex-Royal, now #30), Kevin Garnett eventually wearing Malik Sealy’s #2 (but I don’t know of any other ex-Timberwolf, now #2), and even Michael Cuddyer took #3 in Colorado for Harmon Killebrew (but I don’t know of any other ex-Minnesota Twin who took #3 elsewhere for that reason).

      • Tim | September 3, 2020 at 2:41 pm |

        From Wikipedia-

        In Nippon Professional Baseball, the Japanese big leagues, the number 18 is often reserved for the ace pitcher. Upon arriving in the MLB, Japanese “import” pitchers have sought the number again (including Hiroki Kuroda, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Hisashi Iwakuma, Kenta Maeda, and Yusei Kikuchi).

  • Ron S. | September 3, 2020 at 8:00 am |

    Tom Seaver was my boyhood idol when I was growing up in Jersey and 12 year old me cried the day he got traded to the Reds. I was ecstatic when he came back in 1983 and upset again a year later when GM Frank Cashen, normally a very smart man, protected Junior Ortiz instead of Tom. I even got to see his Hall of Fame plaque in Cooperstown in the fall of 1992. I’m very fortunate that some of my best childhood memories were seeing Tom Seaver pitch. RIP Tom Terrific…

  • Christopher Falvey | September 3, 2020 at 8:09 am |

    I’m curious what the gist of the complication is regarding Sever? Is it a baseball-related thing? As in… him leaving the Mets. Or is it something off-field?

    • Paul Lukas | September 3, 2020 at 8:14 am |

      I have always found him to be a complicated character, so I have complicated feelings about him. Also, he loomed large in my childhood, so his death resonates in complicated ways.

      • Nestor Chylak | September 3, 2020 at 9:25 am |

        Seaver was admirable in so many ways, not least for his anti-Vietnam stance, which seemed to carry more weight coming from a young ex-marine. Always seemed to exemplify the very best of Young America.

        He was an instant idol for Mets fans, but I gotta tell ya, as a Cubs fan I had mixed feelings about him. He and the ’69 Mets seemed to work up a Michael Jordanesque motivating anger toward Ron Santo and the Cubs; all for the crime of clicking his heels for the enjoyment of the Wrigley faithful after wins. And after the 1969 World Series miracle, not a kind word was said by any of the Mets about the Baltimore Orioles. Their ‘sore winner’ act left me unable to like the Mets for many years.

        My prayers go out to his family, just as they went out to him when I heard about his dementia. I will miss him. Always enjoyed his game analysis on telecasts, too. R.I.P.

        • David | September 3, 2020 at 12:39 pm |

          Especially coming from a Cubs fan, I respect those kind comments about #41, one of my boyhood heroes, and certainly a complicated fellow as Paul says. But I think your animus toward Seaver and the champion Mets is clouded by your love for the Cubs. It wasn’t just Santo’s heel-clicking that motivated them to beat the Cubs. How about Durocher ordering Bill Hands to throw a beanball at Tommie Agee? Or this 1969 comment from Leo:
          In a mid-July series against the Mets, the Cubs were beaten in the first two games at Shea Stadium, but finally managed to salvage the third game, after which Durocher was asked if those were the real Cubs.
          “No”, Durocher answered, “those are the real Mets.”

  • AV | September 3, 2020 at 8:10 am |

    I am a little late to the College Football Preview but one note to pass along. The 2020 Army-Navy game is listed as “Dec. 12 at West Point” in the Army and Navy entries but to my knowledge it is still scheduled to be played in Philadelphia.

  • AV | September 3, 2020 at 8:14 am |

    Slab BBQ also has San Antonio Spurs and Tequila Sunrise inspired gear!

    https://dopebbq.square.site/shop/slab-bbq-gear/4

  • RS Rogers | September 3, 2020 at 8:17 am |

    Correction: Every Twins player other than Donaldson mistakenly wore caps without the mustard trim. Twins uniforms have been a hot mess since the team introduced the mustard accents, but the mustard-outlined TC logo is a huge improvement over the original and should be the only cap logo the Twins wear until they bring back the M. (Not really a correction, just a plea to the Twins to fix their uniforms.)

    Thanks for the story about the Ajax veterans and 34, Anthony!

    Great Seaver tribute, Paul. Seaver is on the shortlist of great players I’m proud to have seen play.

    Mississippi’s flag commission chose well, given the flawed requirements and mediocre finalists. The new flag will be about as good as Iowa’s. B-minus.

    • Tom | September 3, 2020 at 8:49 am |

      Agreed on the approved Mississippi flag. Take out the unnecessary words (which were required criteria because . . . reasons) and it’s a good design.

      The color pattern is unique among US states, so easy to identify from a distance. The thin gold stripes separating the red and blue are welcome change from all the boring red/white/blue of other flags.

      The magnolia screams Mississippi and is superior to slapping on a boring state seal like so many other states do.

      It’s not top tier with the likes of New Mexico, South Carolina, Texas, Colorado, Tennessee, Arizona, Alaska or Maryland. It’d put it alongside the likes of Arkansas (love the diamond, hate the ‘ARKANSAS’ stuck in the middle) or Wyoming (great double border, use of bison, hate the seal inside the bison) as unique banner that’ll stand out from the dull state seal on navy background that so many states utilize.

      B+ / A-

    • Richard Cliffton | September 3, 2020 at 9:10 am |

      The Twins should never wear any color except for navy, red, and white with acceptable road uniform colors of gray or powder blue.

    • James | September 3, 2020 at 11:13 am |

      Not a big fan of the new Mississippi flag. I would give it a D. Suggested in my post that a Uni-Watch design contest could come up with a better design despite the arbitrary requirements. Now that would be great if a flag design from here went for a vote in MS.
      Vote

    • walter | September 3, 2020 at 1:14 pm |

      Seems like its time to roll out the S.U.C.K. rule (Stale/Ugly/Calendar/Karma) for the Twinkies and put things in order. If it were up to me, I’d put them back in the uniforms they won two World Series wearing. True, the “Twins” lettering could use some massaging but underlining the “win” is here to stay. I’d also work in the postal abbreviation “MN” in some way, but I’m not in charge. My favorite overlooked detail was the vertically-arched “MINNESOTA” lettering from the old road jerseys.

  • Patrick in MI | September 3, 2020 at 9:54 am |

    Carl Skanberg, not Karl.

    • Paul Lukas | September 3, 2020 at 10:10 am |

      Thanks. Fixed.

  • ThatRodneyGuy | September 3, 2020 at 10:07 am |

    To my knowledge, and I follow the Cowboys fairly closely, the no names/numbers was a one off for their Blue/White scrimmage because it was “televised” and not a training camp long activity.

    NFL restrictions on training camp reporting have shielded much of the information coming out as far as younger/bubble players.

    I don’t personally agree with the no name/number move, but i also don’t get very excited about august scrimmages either.

  • ML | September 3, 2020 at 10:11 am |

    Great tribute to Tom Terrific and his dirty knee.

  • Joe W | September 3, 2020 at 10:16 am |

    How cool would it be for the Mets to memorialize Seaver by making the right knee of their pants dirty instead of some sort of patch.

    • Paul Lukas | September 3, 2020 at 10:37 am |

      Oh, shit — Y-E-S!

    • James | September 3, 2020 at 11:10 am |

      Hell yes!

    • Brett Alan | September 3, 2020 at 4:19 pm |

      They’re doing it!

      I’m guessing just for today, but still, they did indeed dirty the right knee today. Great idea!

  • Kek | September 3, 2020 at 10:18 am |

    RIP Tom Seaver. As a child of the 80s (actually born in ’75) I really have more memories of him as a Red so I was glad to see all his unis represented!

  • Eric Maddy | September 3, 2020 at 11:04 am |

    This is kind of the antithesis of the Ajax/34 story, but the story of the number 24 in Brazilian soccer is a bit fascinating.https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2857376-the-unwanted-gay-no-24-shirt-and-brazils-homophobia-problem-in-football

  • JamesG | September 3, 2020 at 11:07 am |

    While I believe it is right for Mississippi to change their state flag, not sure the selected design is that great. Looks a bit odd in my view. A uni-watch design the flag contest would come up with better.

    • Tom | September 3, 2020 at 2:37 pm |

      Given the criteria constraints, that new Mississippi flag design was among the better submissions. The stripe pattern is unique among US state flags and it will be recognizable from a distance. The magnolia says Mississippi without having to spell the state’s name. They had to cram In God We Trust on there per the rules. This design has it about as subtly integrated as possible. From a distance the eye will see it as part of the circle of stars around the magnolia.

      We should be thankful it’s not another blue flag with a state seal slapped on it surrounded by overlarge IN GOD WE TRUST.

      • James | September 3, 2020 at 9:08 pm |

        I suspect the vote won’t go so good. It’s Mississippi. Already a move to get 6 flags on the ballot including the one with the confederate battle flag. Grew up in my Memphis and a good number of relatives in Mississippi. They can’t get past themselves sometimes.

  • Steve D | September 3, 2020 at 11:11 am |

    I was at several key games in Seaver’s career, including his near perfect game in 1969, when I was too young to know what was happening, but kept rising and cheering when everyone else did. I was at his 300th win at Yankee Stadium, when Met and Yankee fans were fighting in the stands and the cops emptied the section. I was there opening day 1983 when he returned and due to a leg injury, it was not guaranteed he would even pitch that day. He had a quick wit. When I met him I told him about these games and the game in 1975 when he struck out his 200th batter and he cut me off and said “in one game?”

    I kind of took Tom for granted and my favorite players were Swoboda…Staub…Kingman. It should have always been Tom. As for his picture above, that is the only way to wear stirrups in my mind…perfect ratio of blue to white. RIP 41.

  • Ben | September 3, 2020 at 11:28 am |

    The Ticker item about the Blazers uniform number combination reminded me of something that happened a few weeks ago that might be Ticker-worthy. At one point during the July 30 Lakers/Clippers game, everyone on the court for the Clippers had two “first names” and thus, everyone had a “first name” as their NOB.

    Paul George
    Kawhi Leonard
    Patrick Beverley
    Joakim Noah
    Marcus Morris

  • Jim Vilk | September 3, 2020 at 11:42 am |

    The Pirates will celebrate Roberto Clemente Day on Sept. 9 by having all uniformed personnel wear No. 21 for their game against the White Sox.

    No. No. NO.

    This lifelong Pirates fan thinks this is a TERRIBLE idea. You retired the number…that means (contrary to what Bud Selig and Rob Manfred think), nobody should wear that number again.

    But then again, the Pirates have a DH for all their games this year. Nothing matters anymore, does it?

    • Phil Hecken | September 3, 2020 at 11:48 am |

      It is what it is.

    • Mike Engle | September 3, 2020 at 11:53 am |

      You know, I used to be a hardliner on this topic, but I’ve come around a bit. Maybe it’s due to seeing all the 42’s for Jackie Robinson…Cleveland’s Larry Doby Day feels more understated and appropriate by comparison, and maybe a Roberto Clemente Day is on Larry Doby’s level.
      And then similarly, one of my beliefs in life is “If everything/everybody is special, then nothing/nobody is special.” So philosophically, if everybody’s wearing #21 on the Pirates, couldn’t you say that nobody is wearing #21? Indeed, no one particular player is wearing #21. That’s Clemente’s. It’s the equivalent of “blank on the back” day, like the Yankees did in Boston one time.
      Is it a scorekeeper’s nightmare? Yes I bet it is. Does it completely defile the look of the game and desecrate a player’s legacy? I think I have to say no…not completely.

      • Jim Vilk | September 3, 2020 at 12:07 pm |

        You shouldn’t be seeing all those 42s, because that number was retired also. Well, it was *sort of* retired…

        • Jim Vilk | September 3, 2020 at 12:35 pm |

          I suppose it’s appropriate that they should be playing the “White Sox” (who don’t wear white socks) on that day.

          So on Sept. 9th, does that mean I can take $1000 out of my credit union, even though I have only half that amount in my account? I mean, why be concerned with reality?

    • Daniel E | September 3, 2020 at 3:01 pm |

      The whole concept of retiring numbers has always seemed very silly and counter-productive to me. Let’s honor this guy’s memory by making sure nobody ever sees something that was memorable about him! It just makes no sense.

      Then again, I’m not a big fan of a team’s entire lineup all wearing the same number either, strictly for practical reasons. (Makes it harder to identify who’s who.)

      And furthermore, get off my lawn :-P

  • Mark Gonillo | September 3, 2020 at 12:25 pm |

    Seaver had a famously large head. I believe his cap size was 7 5/8.

    • Nestor Chylak | September 3, 2020 at 4:03 pm |

      Shoot, that ain’t big. I’m 7 7/8. Now THAT’S a melon.

  • Marc | September 3, 2020 at 12:30 pm |

    Perhaps, it would be appropriate for the White Sox to wear Minnie Miñoso’s number 9 for the game with the Pirates.

    • Jim Vilk | September 3, 2020 at 12:38 pm |

      Don’t give them any ideas…

      • Jim Vilk | September 3, 2020 at 12:40 pm |

        Shoot…why not have every Ajax player wear # 34 for their next soccer match? Let’s just keep cranking the ratchet, huh?

  • Scott | September 3, 2020 at 12:44 pm |

    I appreciate the effort by the RSL players but it seems a little publicity stunty by the organization with all the players in yellow sporting identical overstock of what appears to be an inaugural game give away shirt

  • Jim Vilk | September 3, 2020 at 12:49 pm |

    By the way, for the sake of the mostly American readership here, it should be noted that Ajax is pronounced as “eye-yaks.”

  • Dwayne Stern | September 3, 2020 at 6:19 pm |

    Many years ago, when I played soccer, just before dirt was invented, almost all teams around the world routinely wore uniforms 1 thru 11 for the starting team.

    1. Goaltender
    2. Left Fullback
    3. Right Fullback
    4. Left Halfback
    5. Center Halfback
    6. Right Halfback
    7. Outside Left
    8. Inside Left
    9. Center Forward
    10. Inside Right
    11. Outside Right
    I could be wrong about the left to right. It may have been right to left.
    If I remember correctly, the North American Soccer League (in the 60’s) was one of the first to go against the norm, wearing numbers that had no rhyme or reason as related to positions.
    To the best of my knowledge there is only competition where players wear numbers by position today – that is rugby league in Australia (not rugby union) The players are numbered 1 to 13 based on position. I won’t bore you with the details.

    • Aled Thomas | September 8, 2020 at 7:01 am |

      I’m pretty sure international rugby union still numbers players by position 1 to 15, and the five (or eight, I forget) substitutes are also numbered by position, with 16 being the loosehead prop.

      It makes me misty eyed for the amateur days of rugby union when you might have a team numbered 1-15 form the forwards to the backs, against a team numbered 15 to 1, i.e in the opposite direction.
      Or, even better when one team wore numbers and some (Leicester and Bath (? maybe, I think) wore letters, because they’d done that since the 1880s..

  • Brian | September 3, 2020 at 7:02 pm |

    What is the point of “retiring” numbers anymore especially if anyone and everyone will be wearing them on days they will be “honored”. It waters down the point.

  • DJ | September 3, 2020 at 9:14 pm |

    “Trophy wife,” to me, has the connotation of a wealthy older man’s second wife (having dumped his first one) who is much younger than he. Nancy Seaver was married to Tom Seaver for over fifty years, until his passing. She was no trophy wife.

    Perhaps a better phrasing might have been “Handsome gent with an equally striking wife, too.”

    • Paul Lukas | September 3, 2020 at 9:17 pm |

      I hear ya. I thought long and hard before using that term. But if you were in NYC during the 1970s, I think you’d agree that Nancy Seaver was repeatedly used like a prop (as were many athletes’ spouses in those days). I don’t mean to diminish her as a person. But the way she was presented in public — and, I’m fairly certain, the way she was perceived — was pure trophy wife.

  • Redgun222 | September 4, 2020 at 3:33 am |

    I am from Mississippi and I hate our new flag.

  • Matt | September 4, 2020 at 9:36 am |

    Feels like the term “trophy wife” could have been omitted from this piece and it’d have been better. It’s 2020.

    • Paul Lukas | September 4, 2020 at 9:43 am |

      I hear ya. I thought long and hard before using that term. But if you were in NYC during the 1970s, I think you’d agree that Nancy Seaver was repeatedly used like a prop (as were many athletes’ spouses in those days). I don’t mean to diminish her as a person. But the way she was presented in public — and, I’m fairly certain, the way she was perceived — was pure trophy wife.

  • Matt | September 4, 2020 at 9:51 am |

    Some of that context (and/or an acknowledgement of the dated concept and term) might have helped soften the ‘ick’. All good – as a reader and commenter I felt the need to raise it. Moving on.