What’s special about 19?

jackie-bradley-jr

Boston’s Jackie Bradley Jr., didn’t have to bribe a teammate with a new watch or a new car to pry his favourite jersey number from a teammate.

He just had to be patient and wait for the right opportunity.

His chance came during the offseason when reliever Koji Uehara, who wore #19, left the Red Sox as a free agent to sign with the Chicago Cubs. Finally, Bradley Jr., who wore #25 for the past few seasons, would get a shot at his desired number.

But why did he care so much about that particular number? Jersey #19 has special meaning for Bradley, and he has five reasons why he wears it now.

-Bradley’s birthday is April 19.

-His mother was in labour for 19 hours before he was born.

-Bradley isn’t able to wear Jackie Robinson’s #42 because it’s retired throughout baseball. Instead, he salutes the Hall of Famer with #19 because Robinson was born in 1919.

-Bradley wore #19 in college at South Carolina where he was a standout athlete. His success at South Carolina led to the Red Sox selecting him in the first round, 40th overall, in the 2011 draft.

-Bradley considers longtime Red Sox centerfielder Fred Lynn, a friend and mentor. Lynn wore #19 for the Red Sox from 1974-1980.

***

If you’re planning to attend Derek Jeter’s jersey retirement ceremony in New York in May then you best bring some extra cash.

In typical Yankees fashion, ticket prices for the May 14 game have been jacked up significantly – as in nearly 800 per cent for some sections. Yes, 800 per cent.

The team website shows ticket prices for the against the Houston Astros ranging from $90 bleacher seats to $500 field level seats.

The day prior to the ceremony, fans can grab bleacher tickets for as low as $10, while main level seats range from $59-$65.

To put the prices into context, a full-season ticket plan in the bleachers runs from $11-23. For main level seats, a full season seat runs from $37-56. Seats in those same areas for Jeter’s special night will run at least five times more than the typical worth for a season-ticket holder.

A seat at his HoF induction ceremony in Cooperstown in 2020 is free, so I’ll wait for one of those.

 ***

For the first time in 17 years, veteran pitcher Jake Peavy is absent front a spring training camp – and he has a very legitimate reason as to why.

To two-time World Series champion and former Cy Young winner, to put it mildly, endured a rough off-season.

For starters, he’s still trying to piece together how he lost millions of dollars in an investment scandal.

What stings a little more is that his wife of 15 years and mother of their four children filed for divorce the day after he and his San Francisco Giants were eliminated from the playoffs in late October.

If that wasn’t enough, the 35-year-old saw his fastball velocity drop last season to an average around 89mph, which is well below the norm. Currently a free agent, he’s patiently waiting for a team to come calling.

In the meantime, he’s content being a father to his four boys – ranging in age from two to 15 – and working part-time as a pitching instructor at a nearby college.

“It hurts not to be in spring training,” Peavy told ESPN. “I know that day is coming, but right now being a dad is absolutely No. 1. There’s no way in a million years that I could leave my boys at this time.”

***

Anyone remember Pete Rose? He’s the guy who has more hits than anyone in professional baseball.

Well, Rose is on the ballot for the Philadelphia Phillies’ wall of fame, his first association with the team since he was banned from baseball in 1989.

A Philadelphia newspaper reports the Phillies received permission from Major League Baseball to include Rose, who was inducted last year into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.

Rose played for the Phillies for five seasons, helping them win their first World Series title in 1980.

 

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