Days until Opening Night, Cardinals vs. Cubs on ESPN: 44
First player/coach to wear #44: Bobby Tiefenauer (1952)
Last player/coach to wear #44: Carlos Martinez (2014)
Player/coach to wear #44 in the most seasons: Ray Washburn (9, 1961-69)
Number of players/coaches to wear #44: 34
Last time not worn: 2009
While the many names listed above made it tough to choose only one, it actually may be the player not included who makes the biggest impact. Trevor Rosenthal takes over the mantle of hurlers with dominating stuff to wear #44 going into 2015, but my question is for how long.
Sure, it was curious that the jersey shuffle now puts Rosie into his third with the Cardinals, and that could just have to do with Matheny making the request. The closer will be arbitration eligible next year, though, and with agent Scott Boras leading the way anything is possible.
It is more likely, however, that another St. Louis closer has more to say with any further number changes because honestly there can only be one! Isringhausen was the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde pitcher for the 9th, and it is almost fitting that the Cards have version 2.0 sharing the jersey love.
What this means to the sanity of the fans is to be determined, but a fresher Rosenthal in the summer would go a long way to avoiding additions to the swear jar. Izzy also has taken on more of a role with the organization, leading to thoughts that he may again wear his old jersey at one point.
One thing is for certain no matter which 44 is handling closing duties, and those final three outs will never be boring. One more World Series closer has ties to this number as well, but for that Chicago has to be thanked. Ken Reitz patrolled the hot corner in St. Louis for most of the 1970’s before becoming a Cub.
The Cardinals sent Reitz up the I-55 after the 1980 campaign in order to obtain Bruce Sutter and well, we all know how that worked out.