Skip to content

Subway Series Game Features Uni-numerical Oddity

Posted in:

Good morning! To my knowledge, no NFL teams are planning any unveilings or announcements today. Crazy, right?

Now then: Above left is the first pitch thrown in last night’s Yankees/Mets game; above right is the final pitch. I trust that you can see what they have in common: Yankees starter Domingo Germán and Mets reliever Adam Ottavino both wear No. 0.

That led to a fun question last night from Twitter-er @stevenwoj:

Let me slightly rephrase Steven’s question: Was last night the first time the first and last pitches of a game have been thrown by two different zero-clad pitchers?

Answer: Yes! Let me explain how I came to that conclusion:

  • According to, only four pitchers have ever worn No. 0: two starters (Germán, who only began wearing No. 0 this season after previously donning Nos. 50, 55, 64, and 65, and Marcus Stroman, currently with the Cubs, who’s been wearing No. 0 since 2021) and two relievers (Ottavino, who’s worn No. 0 for several teams since 2013, and Kent Emanuel, who appeared in 10 games for the Astros in 2021).
  • Germán has only worn No. 0 this year, and last night was his first start against the Mets this year, so that means there have been no other Germán/Ottavino 0/0 games. That in turn means any other 0/0 games were started by Stroman, because he’s the only other zero-clad starter.
  • In 2021, Stroman was pitching for the Mets. 2021 was Emanuel’s only big league season, and none of his 10 game appearances came against the Mets. So there have been no Stroman/Emanuel 0/0 games, which means the only remaining possibilities would be Stroman/Ottavino games. And Stroman began wearing No. 0 in 2021, so that’s our starting point.
  • In 2021, Stroman was with the Mets and Ottavino was with the Red Sox. Only one of Stroman’s starts was against Boston, and Ottavino did not appear in that game. (Moreover, the game was in Boston, so Stroman didn’t throw the game’s first pitch — Boston starter Eduardo Rodriguez did.) So that takes care of 2021.
  • In 2022, Stroman was with the Cubs and Ottavino was with the Mets. Only one of Stroman’s starts was against the Mets; while Ottavino did appear in that game, he was not the Mets’ final pitcher and thus did not throw the game’s final pitch. (This appears to be the only other game that has featured two zero-clad pitchers, period.) That takes care of 2022.
  • In 2023, Stroman and Ottavino are still with the Cubs and Mets, respectively. Stroman has had one start against the Mets, and Ottavino did not appear in that game.

Conclusion: Last night was the first time the first and last pitches of an MLB game have been thrown by two different zero-clad pitchers! Q.E.D.

Update: I originally stated in this post that Germán had thrown the first and last pitches of his perfect game last month, and that we therefore had precedent for the first and last pitches of a game being thrown by a zero-clad pitcher but not by two different zero-clad pitchers. But reader/commenter Matt Kuhn quickly pointed out that Germán’s perfect game took place in Oakland, not in New York, so Germán didn’t throw the first pitch of that game — Oakland starter JP Sears did.

That was Germán’s only complete game in this, his only zero-clad season. But with that game now taken off the board, we have to look at Stroman. He had no complete games in 2021 or ’22, but he’s had one this season, on May 29, and it was a Cubs home game. So that was the first game in which the first and last pitches were thrown by a zero-clad pitcher, and last night was the first time it’s been done by two different zero-clad pitchers.

(My thanks to @stevenwoj for coming up with the excellent question that resulted in this post and to Matt Kuhn for spotting my error regarding Germán’s perfect game.)



ITEM! New Premium Article

With the Jets unveiling their “New York Sack Exchange” throwbacks two days ago, my Uni Watch Premium article on Substack is a deep dive on the uniforms that inspired the new throwbacks. Like all the other NFL deep dives I’ve recently done (for the Bucs’ creamsicles, the Eagles’ Kelly greens, the Seahawks’ blue/silver set, the Vikings’ original purple set, and the Oilers’ uniforms), this one is jam-packed with obscure fun facts and great vintage photos.

You can read the first part of the article here. In order to read the entire thing, you’ll need to become a paid subscriber to my Substack (which will also get you access to my Substack archives). My thanks, as always, for your consideration.




Can of the Day

Hmmm, is this where Keith Haring took his inspiration?

Comments (22)

    I could be wrong, but wasn’t German’s perfect game on the road in Oakland, so he didn’t throw the first pitch off the game?

    I could be wrong but I don’t think there’s a direct link to the Substack article (usually it’s linked via “here”).

    Huh — I distinctly recall adding it, but I guess it didn’t take.

    Now added, and here’s the link so you don’t have to scroll back up: link

    This article was better than being served coffee by a hot barista. I’m going to subscribe to Substack before the post-naught clarity kicks in.

    I love the deep dive into the stats on this. Part of what makes uni watch great, but… I despise seeing players wear #0. Am I the only one with such an aversion to this?

    You are not alone. The only thing worse than a player wearing 0 is a player wearing 00.

    Yes…the stuff of mascots – and both are quite possibly the slowest of all uniform numbers.

    I will lump this with the Jeopardy! clue from yesterday, but I don’t like zero as a uni number either.

    It would have been better if Jeopardy had written the clue to specify that the Yankees had retired every single digit natural, or counting, number. Mathematically, there are only 37 single digit numbers:

    1 through 9 (the Yankees’ set)
    -1 through -9
    .1 through .9
    -.1 through -.9
    and zero

    So mathematically, the Jeopardy! clue is in error. Aesthetically, however, North American sports prefer one or two digit natural numbers (Bill Veeck not withstanding). Zero is not a natural number; it is the only whole number that is not natural. So this makes zero (and double zero) seem to be more of a “look at me” number than an actual identifier for spectators, officials, and announcers. Case in point, Benito Santiago’s “09” jersey just looks “off” despite the fact that he actually had a reason for doing it.


    Interesting to note: earlier this week on Jeopardy, there was a clue about how “all single-digit numbers” were retired by the Yankees (including No. 8, twice).

    Last I heard, zero is a single-digit number.

    Interesting thing about that game where both Stroman and Ottavino both pitched. Taijuan Walker was the starter and he wore 99 meaning that the starting pitchers wore 0 & 99. this would be the biggest gap possible between starting pitchers. link

    This issue has come up before about the Jets using the green helmets with the throwbacks in 93 and 94. Although I cannot find documentation now, I distinctly remember at the time that Boomer Esiason was opposed to the white helmets. He supposedly thought it would be confusing to identify the correct receivers. So, while the Jets can be blamed for a lot of things, the helmet issue was not due to their ineptness or cheapness. That was Boomer’s fault.

    That can is a real beauty. Pitchers wearing 0 are not. As stated above, it is a mascot number.

    This post left me wondering if the opener/closer situation could this have happened before in a game where a pitcher wearing #0 threw the first pitch, and then a position player wearing #0 ended up throwing the final pitch mopping up in a blowout. There aren’t that many of them (link), and a brief skim through their bios suggests that none of the position players have ever pitched. But it’s worth keeping an eye on this possibility as well.

Comments are closed.