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The Rangers have not just one, but two No. 9 jerseys hanging from the rafters at Madison Square Garden. The first of which went up in early February of 2009, when Adam Graves was honored with his own, personal jersey-retiring ceremony.
But later that month, Andy Bathgate’s No. 9 was also raised to the rafters, in a ceremony in which he shared with Harry Howell.
What’s most curious is that neither Graves nor Bathgate were the last to wear the number. Pavel Bure was. When the Rangers acquired Bure in 2002, Sandy McCarthy wore Bure’s classic No. 10. Instead of asking for McCarthy’s number, Bure contacted Graves, who was the last player to wear No. 9 for the Rangers.
Seeing that Graves had achieved near-legend status with the Rangers, Bure respectfully asked permission to wear the sweater, and of course, being the man he is, Graves allowed it.
Bure only played 51 games for the Rangers, but the fact that he was the last to wear such a sacred number in the organization’s history is a bit of history each Rangers fan should know.