Retiring numbers used to be a thing of honor, reserved for MLB Hall-of-Famers and players who stood out to fans and teams. But the Yankees, for example, have retired so many numbers that people joke they’ll have to start using triple digits on the backs of jerseys soon. For one reason or another, the following MLB players should be up for the un-retirement of their numbers.
Paul Konerko, Chicago White Sox
Paul Konerko is probably most famous for the big grand slam he hit in the 2005 World Series, which helped the White Sox win and put an end to their 88-year title drought. Konerko hit a lot of home runs while in Chicago — 432 in 16 seasons — but he was a horrible defender and tied for 590th all-time with his 27.6 career WAR.
It seems like the team retired his number as a way to celebrate the victory and the 2005 season. While he was a great offensive player, Konerko played during a time with a lot of other great offensive players. In fact, he went to the All-Star Game, but only as the backup.
Randy Jones, San Diego Padres
One of the best pitchers in the NL for two seasons (1975-76), Randy Jones won the ERA title with 2.24 in one of those seasons and led the league with 22 wins in the other. He also received the Cy Young award. But he never pitched in the postseason, and he actually had a losing record over his career at 100-123 overall.
Overall, Jones had a pretty unremarkable career with the Padres. It’s not known if the Padres just needed to retire a jersey to keep up, but they retired the number of the only player who had an overall losing record. It just doesn’t make sense.
Wade Boggs, Tampa Bay Rays
Many sports fans agree that Wade Boggs was a great player, but for the Tampa Bay Rays to retire his number when he only played two seasons there was unwarranted. Having his number — a different one — retired in Boston makes sense. Boggs played there longer (and better) than he did in Tampa.
He was in 12 All-Star games, garnered a Rookie of the Year award, and won a World Series title, but not in Tampa. He did get his 3,000th hit in Tampa, and it is his hometown, but he already has a seat of honor in the stadium. Plus, the Rays have only existed since 1998.
Don Mattingly, New York Yankees
Maybe the Yankees take pride in the fact that they have the most retired numbers in the league? But with all the greats that came, does he compare? Don Mattingly played his entire time for the Yankees during a mediocre stretch for the club.
Mattingly did win MVP one year, but it was for a team that saw zero World Series wins on his watch. It makes you wonder if anyone could get their number retired and just what the Yankees were thinking. It must have been a slow time in baseball.
August Busch, Jr., St. Louis Cardinals
Teams have retired many numbers that don’t even belong to actual players. This means they did nothing to earn it, aside from their status with the team and fans. But retiring numbers should be a privilege given to athletes, not just anyone. August Busch, Jr. was the owner of the team, does own the city’s prestigious beer company, and is the namesake of the stadium itself, but is that enough?