By Geoff Stoddart, AngelsWin.com Director of Social Media –
The Problem with #27
(Or … “I’ve got 27 problems, but a legacy ain’t one.”)
I knew this was going to happen.
I knew it!
The question is, how?
How back in 2011, a mere two years after the number was last worn, did the Angels allow the number 27 to be made available to a fresh-faced young man with a stratospheric amount of upside? A young man who, seeming, had no previous ties to the number 27 or wanting to wear it? (In high school through the minor leagues Mike Trout wore the numbers 1, 15, 20, 23, 25 and 28.)
In a recent column by Mike DiGiovanna, former Angels All Star and onetime wearer of the number 27, Vladimir Guerrero, indicated that if he were to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, he would probably go in wearing an Angels cap.
Kind of cool, right?
It would be great to have “Big Daddy Vladdy” added to the list of Hall of Fame players donning the Angel cap in Cooperstown. A list that includes …
Well … yeah.
As most Angels baseball fans know, there are no players sporting an Angels lid in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Not Nolan Ryan. Not Rod Carew. Not Reggie Jackson. Not one!
If Guerrero is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, and goes in wearing an Angels cap, he will be the first former Halo to do so.
The list of players I mentioned earlier with the exception of Jackson have had their numbers retired by the Angels organization. So how in the world could the team not then retire the number of the first player to go into Cooperstown wearing their cap?
They’d have to retire the #27 for Guerrero, right?
Folks, what we have here is a constitutional crisis of Biblical proportions! I’m going to need everyone to stock up on water and canned goods as quickly as possible!
(“And the Oscar goes to …”)
OK, maybe that’s a bit dramatic. But still!
Look, I get that through the years there have been legendary players in all sports who have worn more than one number.
Michael Jordan wore the numbers 23 and 45 for the Bulls. (He even wore the number 12 once when his jersey was stolen prior to a game.)
Joe Montana wore the numbers 16 and 19. Though the numbers were worn when playing for two different teams.
Even the aforementioned Ryan, Carew and Jackson wore different numbers during their big league careers.
I understand that there is precedent for historic players wearing different numbers. But some players are special. As are the numbers they wore.
When you think of the number 99 in hockey, the greatness of only one player comes to mind.
When you talk about the number 32 and the Los Angeles Lakers, you know it’s a magical conversation.
When you see a Yankee jersey with the number 7, it doesn’t matter that the jersey doesn’t have the players name written on the back.
Do we not all believe that there’s a strong possibility Mike Trout will be in the category of those sporting legends once his career has concluded?
Are we really going to make the man, who many consider to be the best player of his generation, change is number?
It appears that the answer may one day be, “yes.”
In the words of Howard Cosell, as offered to Southern California radio listeners through the 70’s and 80’s by Jim Healy, “Who Goofed? I’ve got to know!”