clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Pedro Martinez to Wear Tug McGraw's Number with the Phillies

There’s a truly bizarre debate going on among sports fans in Philadelphia these days, one that shows a clear distrust of their latest aging Dominican ex-superstar pitching acquisition. ↵

↵The debate is this: provided that he works his way through the minors as expected and earns a spot in the Phils’ rotation, should Pedro Martinez be allowed to wear his customary number 45 with the club? ↵

↵

↵The answer would appear to be “dah, yes,” in that 45 is not a retired number with the Phils and therefore open to whoever claims it. But it is a very important number in the minds of many Phils fans, because it was worn by the late, great Tug McGraw during his decade with the club, and therefore features prominently in an iconic image in Philadelphia’s collective memory – that of Tug leaping into the air after closing out Game 6 of the 1980 World Series, which until last October was the only championship in franchise history. ↵

↵

↵So yeah, one could see how this might be a prickly issue with Philly fans. Until one considers the fact that, as this article at NBC Philadelphia points out, 45 has been worn by numerous Phillies since the Tugger last took the field for the team, including luminaries such as Greg Jelks, Mike Mimbs, Danny Tartabull (really, Tartabull was a Phil? I must have blocked that out) and Jeff Brantley. ↵

↵

↵Hell, the Phils had someone wearing 45 this season – bench coach Pete MacKanin – who has agreed to give up the number to Pedro when he makes the bigs. ↵

↵

↵In the light of this news, the problem becomes clear: It’s not that Philadelphians don’t want anyone to wear 45 for the Phils – they just don’t want Pedro to wear 45 with the Phils. To which I say, Pedro, man, when you get yourself up on the mound in the Bank, you better rack up some wins fast yo. Very very fast. Because if you thought life was tough up in Queens when you were losing, let me tell you something – you ain’t seen nothing yet. To put it as mildly as possible, Philly fans are NOT nice. And based on this ridiculous debate about your number, it would appear that they already do not like you. ↵

↵

This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.