This is the second (obviously) in a series of post about the players who wore a notable uniform number for a team just before another player would make that number their own.
This time around, I decided to tackle two players who, it was recently announced, would have their numbers retired this summer.
Last month, the Red Sox announced they would retire David Ortiz’ #34 in June.
Before Big Papi wore #34, the number belonged to pitcher Rich Garces, who wore it from 1996 to 2002.
During his 7 seasons with the Bosox, Garces went 23-8 with 5 saves in 261 relief appearances. In 2002, Garces racked up a 7.59 ERA in 26 appearances, leading towards the team releasing him at the end of August. David Ortiz, meanwhile was with the Twins and for a variety of reasons was released in December, 2002. Garces signed with the Rockies but never play for them. Big Papi signed with the Red Sox and the rest is history.
Also last month, the Mariners announced that they’d be retiring Edgar Martinez’ #11
(This is a 2002 MLB Showdown card, by the way).
Before Martinez wore #11, the number belonged to catcher Bob Kearney, who wore it from 1984 to 1987.
Kearney was named to the 1983 Topps All-Star Rookie Team and was the Mariners’ starting catcher for a couple of years before falling below Scott Bradley and Dave Valle on the depth chart.
Edgar Martinez won the AL’s Designated Hitter Of The Year Award five times, and the league would rename it the Edgar Martinez Award in 2004. David Ortiz won the Edgar Martinez Award eight times, including this past season. And, because it happened to catch my attention, Hall Of Famer Orlando Cepeda was the very first DH of the Year in 1973, his one season with the Red Sox.
Just as a side note before I wrap this up… It’s been nearly 2 months between this post and the one before it; I’m going to try to make these a bit more frequent than that, but it takes a while to do research and find the cards to scan for these posts. I also got majorly sidetracked by something very interesting I found out while researching potential subjects for these posts… For now, I’ll just say that the attitudes towards uniform numbers were clearly different in the past than they are today.