I am a sports writer, and I like numbers.
In fact, I like numbers so much that I hate to see numbers disappear from jerseys. I believe that professional sports teams should stop retiring numbers.
Trust me, I get it. Babe Ruth was one of the greatest players who ever lived, so the New York Yankees retired his number. They retired the No. 3, and no other Yankee player can ever wear it.
The Yankees, along with the NBA's Boston Celtics, have each retired 22 numbers. What is the harm in allowing players to continue wearing these numbers?
The wearing of those legendary numbers honor former players. It is not a bad thing for a baseball player to wear No. 42. In 1997, Jackie Robinson's 42 was retired throughout Major League Baseball. Retiring No. 42 does not make sense to me. Let players wear it in honor of the man—a man who went through hell to open the door for thousands of minority players.
The MLB had a Jackie Robinson Day in which one player from each of the teams is allowed to wear No. 42. I think having a Jackie Robinson Day is wonderful, but to have No. 42 not see the light of day except for in one game of baseball is silly. Let's honor baseball history, not get rid of it on the jerseys.
Yankee numbers that will never be used again (unless something changes) are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 15, 16, 20, 23, 32, 37, 42, 44, 46, 49 and 51.
I hope baseball will be played hundreds of years from now. What are the Yankees going to do when they have numbers to be issued, but are short on the available non-retired ones? I wouldn't want for them to do something goofy like 3-digit numbers or letters.
The Celtics have retired 00, 1, 2, 3, 6, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35. Where does it end? So many numbers are retired that it kind of lessens the importance of retiring numbers.
Picture a baseball or basketball player wearing a number in honor of a parent. The player has worn the number throughout high school and college.
Let's say his dad taught him all he knew about the sport and was a loving dad. The players wears number 5 because it was the day his dad was born on and his dad wore the 5 while he played. The dad died tragically, and a main piece of remembrance and honor for the dad comes in the way of wearing that No. 5.
How awful would it be for a hard working young man to not get to wear that special No. 5? I don't think it's fair, and I encourage sports teams to stop retiring numbers. They should unretire all numbers as well.