Chants of "We're No. 2" are sure to be heard echoing through the air around Landsdowne Street when the Red Sox take the field for the upcoming 2010 baseball season.
The anticipated chatter will not be a predication of the Red Sox impending finish in the American League East, however, as much as acknowledgement of left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury's entry into an "exclusive club" of players who wore the number two on the back of their Red Sox uniform.
"I wore it in high school. It's may favorite number. I always wanted it," explained the fleet-footed left fielder, who has worn the number 46 since playing for the big-league club. "The Red Sox always knew I wanted it. Brad (Mills) wasn’t going to give it to me. When I heard Brad was promoted, within two minutes, I called Pookie (Jackson, a clubhouse man)."
The most well-known Red Sox player to sport the deuce is former second baseman and current TV color man Jerry Remy. Remy wore it from 1978-1984, which is tied for the longest in Sox history wearing the number. Second baseman Doug Griffin wore number two for seven seasons as well, from 1971-1977. Second baseman, Mike Andrews wore the number from 1967-1970, marking the beginning of an 18-year span that the number belonged to these three second basemen.
Next in line for longevity wearing numero dos was shortstop Luis Rivera (1989-1993) and shortstop Milt Bolling (1953-1957) at five seasons each.
Other well-known Sox wearing number two in recent years include Carl Everett, Damon Buford, Damian Jackson, Otis Nixon, and Terry Shumpfert.
Former Red Sox manager John McNamara wore number two in 1988, only after his original uniform number one was retired by the Sox. Number one had belonged to Bobby Doerr, who retired in 1951, but had his number retired in 1988.
Mills, who has moved on to Houston, wore the number one two occasions from 2004 to 2005 and 2007 to 2009.
The first Sox player to wear the number was Bobby Reeves, who wore the number in 1931, the first year numbers appeared on the Red Sox uniforms. Overall, Ellsbury is the thirty-eighth different player to appear in a game with number two on his Red Sox uniform.
Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz and Daniel Bard will also be playing with new numbers this season, with Buccholz going from number 61 to number 11 and Bard making the switch from numb er 60 to 51.
Todd Civin is a freelance writer who writes for Bleacher Report, Sports, Then and Now, and Seamheads. He also shares his top stories on his blog The 'xoxo' of Sports. He is a supporter of Team Hoyt, the father/son marathon and triathlon team of Dick and Rick Hoyt.
He encourages you to support their movement of "Yes, I Can" by visiting their Web site at www.teamhoyt.com.