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  • #16
    Yes, Ian, I read your post, and here are a few thoughts from old school fandom.

    If your wonder whether fans recognize which player wore which number, you're almost certainly correct. Most 'fans' today don't follow baseball closely enough to know who their team's big hitter has been this year, or who their team's best pitcher would be if that pitcher exists on the roster. Most 'fans' are far more casual among younger generations. Too many are 'filming' At Bats with their phones instead of just watching and trusting that personal memory will do the job over time. In other words, if they have to use their camera-phone that often, will they remember uniform numbers from past players? From today's players?

    Some minor league stadiums have done a great job informing the fans of the team's past players. I.E., attached to the wall in AA Winston-Salem and Greensboro, NC ballparks are biographies of their past greats. IMHO, it is far more effective to inform fans of the franchise's past this way, simply promoting the franchise HoF. The KC Royals do this, as do the Atlanta Braves in their new stadium. A wall display of jerseys would be more effective, thereby including deadball era players from the ancient franchises.

    I can recall only a half-dozen numbers of uniforms throughout MLB's franchises without dwelling too long on it. The number itself doesn't mean that much.
    Catfish Hunter, RIP. Mark Fidrych, RIP. Skip Caray, RIP. Tony Gwynn, #19, RIP

    A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. -- Winston Churchill. (Please take note that I've recently become aware of how this quote applies to a certain US president. This is a coincidence, and the quote was first added to this signature too far back to remember when).

    Experience is the hardest teacher. She gives the test first and the lesson later. -- Dan Quisenberry.

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    • #17
      Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
      Ian, I gather you are not a Giants' fan. Will Clark is MUCH MORE than just a good player to Giants fans my age or older. Context matters in Will Clark's case.

      The Giants won the NL West title in 1971. This was the last hurrah for the core group of the great 1960's Giants teams (Mays, McCovey, Marichal, Perry). Perry would leave after the 1971 season. By 1973 all four future Hall of Famers were gone. The Giants continued to develop quality players (Bobby Bonds, George Foster, Dave Kingman, Gary Maddox, Gary Mathews) but they kept trading them away. So the team slowly sunk into mediocrity and irrelevance as the 1970's moved forward. They played in an outhouse of a ballpark and the fans stopped coming. In 1976 the team was sold and headed to Toronto until the last second deal Bob Lurie kept the team in SF. The Giants contended in 1978 and 1982 but those were the only seasons with excitement. By 1984 the team had fallen on hard times again. The Giants lost 96 games in 1984 and lost a still franchise record 100 games in 1985. At the point the team was basically the Florida Marlins of today.

      The Giants had the #2 pick in the 1985 draft and they selected Will Clark. Clark played in the California League (high A ball) in 1985 hitting .309/.458/.512. In late 1985 the giants hired Al Rosen as GM. Rosen then hired Roger Craig as manager. Craig managed the last month f the season. Craig later said the team had no drive, no joy, and a defeatist attitude. So the team cleaned house and got rid of the useless veterans. In 1986 the team decided to break camp with rookies Will Clark and Robbie Thompson.

      Staring Will Clark at first base in 1986 completely changed the course of the franchise. Here was this young brash loud kid who could rake. In his first AB he homered off of Nolan Ryan in the Astrodome. To the shock of the baseball world the Giants contended in 1986. At the break the Giants were 48-40 W-L and in first place. And Will Clark was one of the leaders, though he got hurt and missed about 40 games of the season.

      In 1987 Clark led the Giants to the NL West title and a heartbreaking 7-game loss in the NLCS. But in 1989 the Giants won the NL pennant. In game game 1 of the NLCS Clark went 4 for 4, 6 RBI, 4 R, 3 HR, 1 BB. Then Clark drove in the pennant clinching runs in game 5 of the NLCS.

      Clark made five straight NL All Star teams, starting four times. He was being directly compared to Don Mattingly. Clark was absolutely considered on of top 6-7 players in the game at this time.

      Given how important Clark's role was in revitalizing the Giants franchise having his number retired and proper. Also, the Giants haven't retired very many numbers. There are only nine actual retired numbers (10 if you count Jackie Robinson) plus John McGraw and Christy Mathewson.

      Absolutely on the money.

      As always, context does matter.

      I still wouldn't mind seeing Jack Clark's 22 retired with Will's. J Clark was the leader in 78 and 82.

      This week's Giant

      #5 in games played as a Giant with 1721 , Bill Terry

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      • #18
        Originally posted by ian2813 View Post
        I'm starting to feel like no one actually read my original post, because I proposed alternatives to number retirement, and the responses I'm seeing seem to presume that no player can be properly honored by a team without his number being retired.
        Actually no, I just prefer the way that it has been done for a long time. I also feel like having 90 free numbers is plenty.



        "Batting stats and pitching stats do not indicate the quality of play, merely which part of that struggle is dominant at the moment."

        -Bill James

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        • #19
          NLCS Clark went 4 for 4, 6 RBI, 4 R, 3 HR, 1 BB
          It was 2 HRs.
          This week's Giant

          #5 in games played as a Giant with 1721 , Bill Terry

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          • #20
            Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
            Ian, I gather you are not a Giants' fan. Will Clark is MUCH MORE than just a good player to Giants fans my age or older. Context matters in Will Clark's case.

            The Giants won the NL West title in 1971. This was the last hurrah for the core group of the great 1960's Giants teams (Mays, McCovey, Marichal, Perry). Perry would leave after the 1971 season. By 1973 all four future Hall of Famers were gone. The Giants continued to develop quality players (Bobby Bonds, George Foster, Dave Kingman, Gary Maddox, Gary Mathews) but they kept trading them away. So the team slowly sunk into mediocrity and irrelevance as the 1970's moved forward. They played in an outhouse of a ballpark and the fans stopped coming. In 1976 the team was sold and headed to Toronto until the last second deal Bob Lurie kept the team in SF. The Giants contended in 1978 and 1982 but those were the only seasons with excitement. By 1984 the team had fallen on hard times again. The Giants lost 96 games in 1984 and lost a still franchise record 100 games in 1985. At the point the team was basically the Florida Marlins of today.

            The Giants had the #2 pick in the 1985 draft and they selected Will Clark. Clark played in the California League (high A ball) in 1985 hitting .309/.458/.512. In late 1985 the giants hired Al Rosen as GM. Rosen then hired Roger Craig as manager. Craig managed the last month of the season. Craig later said the team had no drive, no joy, and a defeatist attitude. So the team cleaned house and got rid of the useless veterans. In 1986 the team decided to break camp with rookies Will Clark and Robbie Thompson.

            Staring Will Clark at first base in 1986 completely changed the course of the franchise. Here was this young brash loud kid who could rake. In his first AB he homered off of Nolan Ryan in the Astrodome. To the shock of the baseball world the Giants contended in 1986. At the break the Giants were 48-40 W-L and in first place. And Will Clark was one of the leaders, though he got hurt and missed about 40 games of the season.

            In 1987 Clark led the Giants to the NL West title and a heartbreaking 7-game loss in the NLCS. But in 1989 the Giants won the NL pennant. In game 1 of the NLCS Clark went 4 for 4, 6 RBI, 4 R, 3 HR, 1 BB. Then Clark drove in the pennant clinching runs in game 5.

            Clark made five straight NL All Star teams, starting four times. He was being directly compared to Don Mattingly. Clark was absolutely considered one of top 6-7 players in the game at this time.

            Given how important Clark's role was in revitalizing the Giants franchise having his number retired is due and proper. Clark earned this. Also, the Giants haven't retired very many numbers. There are only nine actual retired numbers (10 if you count Jackie Robinson) plus John McGraw and Christy Mathewson.


            Giants retired numbers.jpg
            You're correct that I'm not a Giants fan, but if I came across as dismissive of Will Clark's Giants career, that was not my intent. I know the Roger Craig era was a special one for the fans in San Fran, and that Will Clark's prime years are recalled fondly. But here's my question: Was his #22 so iconic that seeing other players wearing it upset Giant fans? Would it really be any less an honor if they put those all those numbers on a "Wall of Fame" with the names of the guys who wore them and kept the numbers themselves in circulation?

            Even though he's not the star he once was, I thought it was cool that Andrew McCutchen got to wear his familiar #22 during his brief stop with the Giants last year, and I was disappointed when he couldn't wear it after the trade to New York. He wouldn't have been able to do that if it had been retired then. Same with Mike Matheny, who got to wear #22 with every team he played for in his career thanks to the number being available when he came to the Giants. Other players with notable careers who've worn it for the Giants since Will Clark have been Eric Davis and Jake Peavy (although if we did away with retired numbers like I propose, Peavy and Davis might've been able to wear the more familiar #44 they both wore before joining the Giants).

            That was really my point in the original post: By keeping numbers in circulation, they can have an ongoing legacy of players wearing them. Maybe if the Giants gave #22 a special status, where only veterans like the ones I mentioned could wear it (and not journeymen like Kurt Ainsworth, Ryan Rohlinger, Roger Kieschnick, etc.), they could honor Will Clark's number while still keeping it available to players who have a special desire to wear it.

            On another Giants-related note, I read that the reason Brandon Crawford was assigned #35 was because he reminded the equipment manager of another impressive young Giants shortstop: Chris Speier. I don't know about you, but I think that's pretty cool. Not that Brandon Crawford seems like a prime candidate for number retirement, but keeping numbers in circulation means more opportunities to honor players from previous generations and link them to the present. Maybe in 20 years another young Giants shortstop could earn himself a turn wearing the old #35.
            Baseball Junk Drawer

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            • #21
              Originally posted by ian2813 View Post

              Well, I explained in my post what my perspective was and why I'm unhappy with the way retired numbers are handled. If it's something that doesn't bother you, that's fine, but I'm talking about an element of the game that interests me. I started this thread in hopes of finding like-minded fans with whom I could discuss the issue, so perhaps in the future, it'd be better to not reply to a thread if you think so little of the OP's position that you can't be bothered to read what it is.
              Fair enough. I'll withhold it next time and it was wrong of me to do that. I apologize.
              46 wins to match last year's total

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              • #22
                The White Sox have retired 11 team numbers beside Robinson's 42. Nellie Fox (2), Harold Baines (3), Luke Appling (4), Luis Aparicio (11), Ted Lyons (19), Frank Thomas (35) and Carlton Fisk (72) all were long time team members and went into the HOF as ChiSox (except Fisk who should have). The others are Minnie Minoso (9), Paul Konerko (14), Billy Pierce (19) and Mark Buehrle (56).

                Those last four all have at least a reason why they could be considered HOFers and all played at least 12 years with the White Sox.


                I know that our history isn't as glorious as some, but that seems like a fair number of HOFers given that the team has been around 119 years. Retiring one person every decade isn't going to hurt anyone....
                I knew Casey before and after he was a genius.-Warren Spahn, who was rejected by Stengel early in his career when Casey managed the Braves, then played for Casey with the Mets.
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                • #23
                  Originally posted by abolishthedh View Post
                  Yes, Ian, I read your post, and here are a few thoughts from old school fandom.

                  If your wonder whether fans recognize which player wore which number, you're almost certainly correct. Most 'fans' today don't follow baseball closely enough to know who their team's big hitter has been this year, or who their team's best pitcher would be if that pitcher exists on the roster. Most 'fans' are far more casual among younger generations. Too many are 'filming' At Bats with their phones instead of just watching and trusting that personal memory will do the job over time. In other words, if they have to use their camera-phone that often, will they remember uniform numbers from past players? From today's players?

                  Some minor league stadiums have done a great job informing the fans of the team's past players. I.E., attached to the wall in AA Winston-Salem and Greensboro, NC ballparks are biographies of their past greats. IMHO, it is far more effective to inform fans of the franchise's past this way, simply promoting the franchise HoF. The KC Royals do this, as do the Atlanta Braves in their new stadium. A wall display of jerseys would be more effective, thereby including deadball era players from the ancient franchises.

                  I can recall only a half-dozen numbers of uniforms throughout MLB's franchises without dwelling too long on it. The number itself doesn't mean that much.
                  Yes, that's what I'd like to see more of. Focus on the players and their place in history without taking their jersey numbers off the board.
                  Baseball Junk Drawer

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Toledo Inquisition View Post
                    The White Sox have retired 11 team numbers beside Robinson's 42. Nellie Fox (2), Harold Baines (3), Luke Appling (4), Luis Aparicio (11), Ted Lyons (19), Frank Thomas (35) and Carlton Fisk (72) all were long time team members and went into the HOF as ChiSox (except Fisk who should have). The others are Minnie Minoso (9), Paul Konerko (14), Billy Pierce (19) and Mark Buehrle (56).

                    Those last four all have at least a reason why they could be considered HOFers and all played at least 12 years with the White Sox.


                    I know that our history isn't as glorious as some, but that seems like a fair number of HOFers given that the team has been around 119 years. Retiring one person every decade isn't going to hurt anyone....
                    I liked it when Luis Aparicio gave Omar Vizquel permission to wear his old #11 during his time with the White Sox. Like I said earlier, it's so much cooler to see a number on the field building a legacy of its own than up on a wall somewhere.
                    Baseball Junk Drawer

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