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Let's retire retiring numbers

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So around 11:30 Sunday morning, I'm sitting at the house just fucking around with the rosters on Madden football when our neighbor from across the street knocks on the front door, two tickets for the 1:05 Astros/Diamondbacks game in his hand. He says he and his wife didn't feel like going and he thought we might be interested. Never one to turn down free baseball tickets, I said hell yes.


As it happened, yesterday was also the retirement of Craig Biggio's #7 jersey. By the time we made it downtown, parked, and made it inside of Minute Maid Park, it was two minutes before scheduled first pitch (not bad, considering it's a 20-25 minute drive and sfaJill had to get showered and dressed before we could leave) and the ceremony was just finishing up.


Ah, gee, we missed it. Oh well. To me, retiring numbers is one of the most stupid things in sports. I know fans eat it up and teams sell a few extra tickets and make a few extra bucks selling commemorative t-shirts so more power to them, but, to me, it takes the 'hero worship' of pro athletes just a little too far.


Don't get me wrong--I'm all for honoring a team's great players. Lord knows as a fan that I appreciate the great ones when they help my teams do well. But do we really need to make sure that no other player ever wears a certain number again, as if that number is magical and had anything to do with his success??


If you absolutely MUST retire a number or honor a player or whatever at least have the decency to follow the Dallas Cowboys' Ring of Honor model--that way, the player is honored forever (with their number) and the number is continued to be circulated. This also allows for Bob Hayes and Emmitt Smith to make #22 great, just as Drew Pearson and Michael Irvin made #88 great.


As for the game: well, Roy Oswalt had his best start in probably three years--8 IP, 1 H, 10 K, 2 BB. He got the last 15 batters he faced out. Randy Johnson really only made one mistake all day--a 3-run HR to Ty Wigginton in the 1st--but it was more than enough to lose it for him. I've never seen a pitcher dealing like Oswalt was dealing yesteday in person. Just ridiculous.




On a side note, Biggio's is the EIGHTH number retired by the Astros (nine if you count Jackie Robinson's #42). This makes no sense. You're talking about a franchise that's been around for only 47 seasons, has won only one pennant, and zero Hall of Famers (for now, anyway). Are there really eight Astros worthy of number retirement??


Houston Astros who have previously had their number retired:


5 - Jeff Bagwell

24 - Jimmy Wynn

25 - Jose Cruz

32 - Jim Umbricht

33 - Mike Scott

34 - Nolan Ryan

40 - Don Wilson

49 - Larry Dierker



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Its the opposite over here in the UK - for example take the Newcastle United (Soccer) #9 Jersey. Its honored and fabled and has its own Legacy as the shirt that was worn by Newcastle greats such as Jackie Milburn, Andy Cole and Alan Shearer. It's an honor for a striker to be given it.


Likewise the Man U #7 Jersey has its own history and so on. So rather then retire the number, they hold it high esteem due to those who wore it before and pass it on to someone they believe is worthy to wear it.

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I honestly had to look up Jim Umbricht and Don Wilson as I had never heard of them. So Umbricht died at age 33 due to cancer although he only spent two years with the then Colt .45's as a reliever but I'm guessing that was a spur of the moment thing.


And let's see Don Wilson...KILLED HIMSELF! This loser decided to suck down on some carbon monoxide in his garage and in the process ended up accidentally killing his son and putting his daughter in a coma (garage was attached to the house). And they retire his number!? Damn J.R. Richard should have offed himself instead of have just a stroke if he wanted to get the proper recognition.

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Umbright died as an active player with the club, so certainly it was a legitmate thing to honor his memory. Don Wilson is pretty shaky. The rest I have no issue with. Jose Cruz was the f'n man for the Astros in the 1980s. Dierker was both a good pitcher and manager for the club. Bagwell and Biggio will go to the Hall soon enough (they better).

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You think Bagwell is a dead solid lock for the Hall? Not to say he doesn't belong; I think he does. But there are many folks who hold all the playoff 'chokes' against him and Biggio, and, at least around here, there have been many questions about him and steroids and many point to his sharp decline after steroid testing was put in place. Some even question the legitimacy of the shoulder injury that ended his career. The fact that Bagwell came up short of 500 home runs in this era isn't helping his case any either.


Damn J.R. Richard should have offed himself instead of have just a stroke if he wanted to get the proper recognition.

The fact that J.R. Richard's number isn't retired, especially given the Astros' other retirees, is goddamn criminal.

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The big issue might be the steroid whispers, but I think so many players were involved that it will eventually become a dead issue. He at least has huge RBI numbers to hang his hat on.

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