10 Numbers That Should Be Retired by MLB Teams Right Now

Paul Francis SullivanChief Writer IApril 3, 2012

10 Numbers That Should Be Retired by MLB Teams Right Now

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    Most of the times, MLB teams do a pretty good job retiring the numbers of legendary players and managers. A fan favorite returns to the ballpark, their name and number are displayed permanently and a great career is celebrated.

    But among the many retired numbers throughout baseball, there are some notable and sometimes strange omissions.

    These are the 10 most egregious snubs that should be fixed this year.

Wade Boggs, Boston Red Sox No. 26

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    According to RedSox.com, the Red Sox only retire numbers for Hall of Famers who played 10 years in Boston. Well Boggs meets both standards. (Johnny Pesky’s number is retired despite never being elected to the Hall of Fame. Go figure.)

    What exactly is the problem here? He’s in the Hall of Fame with a Red Sox cap. He was the best hitter of the 1980s. He had five batting titles in the 1980s with the Sox. You prefer on-base percentage? OK, he led the league SIX times in on-base percentage. Had the highest OPS in 1987 and 1988. Got 200 hits seven straight seasons. He got 2,098 of his 3,010 hits in a Red Sox uniform. And oh yeah, scored what looked like a key insurance run in Game 6.

    Why isn’t his uniform retired?

    Why have Wes Chamberlain, Alejandro Pena, Aaron Sele, Orlando Merced, Chris Snopek, Rob Stanifer, Sean Berry, Freddy Sanchez and Ramiro Mendoza all worn No. 26 for the Red Sox since Boggs left?

    Yeah I loved Lou Merloni too, but he wasn’t a Hall of Famer.

    Was it because he went to the Yankees? He was non-tendered! The Red Sox in their infinite wisdom just cut him loose. And he clearly cared about playing in Boston. Who else was crying in the dugout?

    Sure he had an affair…I have a feeling he wasn’t the only one. Retire No. 26 already!

Bonds, San Francisco Giants No. 25

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    Bonds? Which Bonds? Is it for Bobby? For Barry?

    Avoid all controversy and have it just say “Bonds.”

    For those of you who don’t want to honor the family name “Bonds,” let me ask you two questions? Do you like that great ballpark by China Basin? You think that would have been built if not for No. 25?

    I think that is worth not having anyone wear No. 25 again.

Gary Carter, New York Mets No. 8

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    Of all the massive blunders the Mets have made recently, the most unforgivable is not retiring No. 8 before Gary Carter passed away.

    We all learned that the heart of the greatest team in Mets history (and the man who started the rally in Game 6) was dying last spring. They had almost a whole season to organize a Gary Carter Day and give Met fans a chance to cheer him and immortalize No. 8.

    It would have been the only reason to go to a Mets game in 2011.

    Instead any honor given to The Kid will be posthumous. Retire his number. The 1986 team needs to have at least one name immortalized.

Rich Gossage, New York Yankees No. 54

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    Any conversation about the greatest reliever of all time would have to include the Goose. He pitched before there were setup men and specialists. He threw long saves and piled up relief innings.

    One of the few relievers in the Hall of Fame, Gossage clinched the 1978 ALCS and World Series, but neither were his biggest game that year. He came into the one-game playoff against the Red Sox in the seventh inning.

    It wasn’t his prettiest line (he let up two runs in 2.2 innings) but saving the “Bucky Dent Game” was no doubt his sweetest save.

Satchel Paige, Cleveland Indians No. 29

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    The great Paige, one of the great pitchers of all time, only spent a few years in Cleveland (picking up his World Series ring) and his best MLB years were for the St. Louis Browns

    But one of the great and legendary figures in baseball history does NOT have his number retired. That isn’t right, and can be easily corrected.

    And if it makes young fans ask “who was Satchel Paige?” then that isn’t such a bad thing either!

Dan Quisenberry, Kansas City Royals No. 29

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    Quiz is no longer with us, but his legacy in Kansas City still is. He had a better career than I remembered with a look at his stats (compare him to Hall of Famer Bruce Sutter!).

    And remember the Royals lost the 1976, 1977 and 1978 ALCS to the Yankees because of their uncertain bullpen. But the Royals beat the Yankees in 1980 with the arrival of Quiz, who also was the closer in the Royals lone World Series win.

J.R. Richard, Houston Astros No. 50

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    For a team that has a grand total of one pennant in their history, the Astros have a lot of retired numbers. Yet oddly they have left Richard out of their roll call.

    Seriously, how is his number NOT retired? He was on his way to a Hall of Fame career.

    A healthy J.R. Richard with Nolan Ryan wins the 1980 pennant! Maybe the 1981 World Series! He would have dominated the National League into the new decade…if he hadn’t had the stroke.

    The Astros retired Don Wilson and Jim Umbricht’s numbers after tragedies. So why not J.R.? He is still alive, and any ill will he had was with ownership that has long since sold the team. New owner Jim Crane should correct this stupid omission.

Dave Stewart, Oakland Athletics No. 34

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    To casual observers, the great A’s run in the late 1980s and 1990s happened because of the strength of Canseco and McGwire. Others might say it was on the consistency of Dennis Eckersley or on the legs of Rickey Henderson.

    But those closely following the team knew that the leader of the team was Dave Stewart. Stew was a journeyman spot starter but Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan transformed him into a legit Cy Young contender.

    Consistently good for 20 wins a year, Stewart won two postseason MVP awards (1989 World Series MVP and 1990 ALCS MVP). Plus the Oakland native gave back to the city with his charity work, much of which he did with little publicity.

    Yes, No. 34 is retired in Oakland in honor of Rollie Fingers. Shame on the A’s for issuing that number after Fingers left. But the Yankees retired No. 8 for two players (Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra). Why can’t the A’s honor two players who wore No. 34?

Fernando Valenzuela, Los Angeles Dodgers No. 34

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    The ripple effect of Fernandomania is still felt in Chavez Ravine. Walk around Dodger Stadium during a game and No. 34 is still one of the most popular jerseys worn by fans.

    He remains one of the most loved Dodgers of all time. He still gets a huge ovation when the camera catches him in the Spanish language radio booth.

    Nobody has worn No. 34 since he stopped being a Dodger. Why not make it official? He isn’t getting into the Hall of Fame, but it is safe to say a “Fernando Day” will draw quite a crowd.

Anonymous, Cincinnati Reds No. 14

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    Only one person has worn No. 14 since Pete Rose’s suspension. That would be Pete Rose Jr. during his 11 game call-up with the 1997 Reds. It is tempting to retire No. 14 in his honor.

    But the Reds should just retire the number without any ceremony. Just hang No. 14 up with the other retired numbers in Cincinnati. Fred Hutchinson, Johnny Bench,  Willard Hershberger, Joe Morgan, Sparky Anderson, Dave Concepcion, Ted Kluszewski, Frank Robinson and Tony Perez are all honored.

    So should the greatest Red of them all, even if his name must not be mentioned.