Days until Opening Night, Cardinals vs. Cubs on ESPN: 46
First player/coach to wear #46: Bob Kuzava (1957)
Last player/coach to wear #46: Kevin Siegrist (current)
Player/coach to wear #46 in the most seasons: Ken Dayley (7)
Number of players/coaches to wear #46: 26
Last time not worn: 1999
A bit of an eclectic mix on this number. You’ve got a Cy Young (though after he left St. Louis), a sideshow (anyone really think Canseco would have been around if it weren’t for his older brother’s notoriety?), a shooting star (and who didn’t like hearing Mike Shannon talk about the Simo Man), and your assorted middle relievers. Plus there’s Mike Maroth, who I still remember writing about in my first year of blogging after the Cards got him from the Tigers. If you don’t remember Maroth, count yourself lucky. Seemed like a great guy personally, but when you put up a 10+ ERA in 14 games (seven starts), you are not going to be remembered fondly at all.
McClellan is our pick here because of a couple of things. One, he’s a St. Louis boy-makes-good story, getting a chance to play for his hometown team and helping them to the playoffs. He even got a World Series ring out of the deal, even though he wasn’t on the WS roster (he bounced around that October, not being eligible to play in the NLDS, then added to the NLCS roster but only making one appearance). McClellan, in the vein of Brad Thompson and many others, split time as a starter and a reliever and had some success in each role.
The second reason is that, since his retirement from baseball, he’s started a charity called Brace for Impact. Inspired by Adam Wainwright‘s work for people in need, McClellan was touched by a trip to Haiti and now is using his charity and profile to raise money for various issues, including a children’s home in Haiti and the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation. (If you feel so inclined, click the link above to help him out.) We always want our athletes to be great people. So often we are disappointed, so when you see some one being so active in trying to help the less fortunate, you have to tip your cap and appreciate them.