Days until Opening Night, Cardinals vs. Cubs on ESPN: 33
First player/coach to wear #33: Sam Narron (1935)
Last player/coach to wear #33: Daniel Descalso (2014)
Player/coach to wear #33 in the most seasons: Barney Schultz (seven total, two as coach)
Number of players/coaches to wear #33: 46
Last time not worn: 1979
The number 33 (and what are the odds of this coming on 3/3?) is like spinning the wheel on a game show–you never know what’s going to turn up but it’s not likely to be the same as the last time. We’ve just seen Descalso wear the number for four seasons, but in the four seasons before that (2007-2010) six different players had donned the set of threes, including the immortal Andy Cavazos. (It’s possible you don’t remember Cavazos, as he had a blink-and-you-miss-it career, throwing 20 innings in 2007 and putting up a 10.35 ERA in that span. Even though I was blogging the second half of that season, this is still only the second mention of Cavazos I’ve ever had.)
There are some that stick out, as noted above, but none probably more so to the current generation that Mr. Walker. Traded to the Redbirds for three prospects that never did much, Walker was a wonderful complementary piece to the great teams of 2004 and 2005. Sliding into the second spot in front of Albert Pujols, Walker hit 11 home runs in his 44 games in 2004, then had another solid year in 2005 before hanging up the cleats, becoming one of a large number of veterans who come to St. Louis late and never go anywhere else.
“I have never heard so many people say so many good things about an organization as I have about the Cardinals,” Walker said at the time of the trade. He was cheered before his first at-bat, then got another standing ovation after he struck out, something that doesn’t happen often. Then again, it’s not often you have a legend of the game join you for a late run at a shot at a ring. Walker’s exploits in Montreal and Colorado had made him an icon of the game and, perhaps, one day will see him in Cooperstown.
This picture seemed perfect, though. Like us, Walker is perturbed we don’t have baseball yet. Bring it on!