Monday, February 8th, 2010

South Side Blasphemy!

Just one day after I gave kudos to the Chicago White Sox, I am forced to wag my finger at them. No, this isn't because I am a Cubs fan. I am disappointed in their management's decision. There are very few things in sports that I hold truly sacred, but the White Sox just crossed a line in my book.

During the offseason, the White Sox signed Omar Vizquel to play shortstop and serve as a utility player. Since Vizquel is nearing the end of his playing career, this move wasn't made for the long-term. But what upset me is that the White Sox have decided to unretire Luis Aparicio's number 11 to allow Vizquel to wear it during the 2010 season. Yes, I understand that the two men are friends and both of Venezuelan descent, but teams retire a uniform number for a reason - to recognize the efforts of one player. By unretiring a number, I think it cheapens the meaning. Technically, the White Sox have unretired a number before, but that was when Harold Baines returned to the White Sox was given his own uniform number back.

Luis Aparicio played 18 Major League Baseball seasons. Ten of those seasons were with the White Sox, including the 1959 American League pennant winners. Luis hit .262 with 2,677 career hits, 506 stolen bases and 10 All-Star appearances, earning the American League Rookie of the Year Award in 1956, while also picking up nine Gold Gloves for his elite defense at shortstop.

WOW. That really is undermining all that that player accomplished. Like you said numbers are retired FOR A REASON. However, this just crossed my mind and maybe i am playing devils advocate, but some people im assuming would just say"Hey man, its just a number, pick a different one cuzz 11 is retired.." Thats kind of a paroxical idea. The number is imporatant in one aspect, but you expect someone else to "lower its value" in another..? Just food for thought :)
good blog. i didnt hear about this
cOnnOrSuLLivan   Monday, February 8, 2010
Apparently, he asked for 13, but that's Ozzie Guillen's number. Guillen told him no.
Bill Pearch   Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Wowww -- I just had an unexpectedly (very) angry reaction to this! If someone tried to "unretire" Ozzie Smith's number, or Jackie Robinson's number, or Stan Musial's number, or or or ... anyone, really ... can you imagine? That is such a sign of disrespect to him and his career. Aparicio is still alive, and I can only hope the Sox consulted him with their idea to have another player wear his retired number as a "tribute" (as the Sox called it in their statement to the press).
Casey   Tuesday, February 9, 2010
The White Sox did contact Aparicio. He's 75 years old now. He gave the team his blessing. I understand that this is supposed to be a tribute, but this situation still bothers me.
Bill Pearch   Tuesday, February 9, 2010
It doesn't make me upset, as much as it makes me laugh. The fact that Vizquel feels he needs to wear #11 is ridiculous. However, this is not unprecedented. I did some research and there are a few teams who've done it:
-76ers unretired Billy Cunningham's #32 for Charles Barkley to wear
-Phx Coyotes unretired Bobby Hull's #9 (retired by Winnipeg Jets who moved ro PHX in '96) so his son Brett could wear it
-Steve Largents #80 was given to Jerry Rice in '04 during his brief stint w/ the Seahawks
There are some other obscure NHL instances but it is fairly rare for the most part. I don't spend alot of time thinking about retired #'s so It really doesn't bother me.
ozthegreat   Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Don't worry, Bill! Most Sox fans haven't been happy with Sox management for the past 25+ years. It doesn't surprise me one bit...
Carol   Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Didn't the White Sox win a World Series in '05? I think Sox fans overall are happy with the current management.
ozthegreat   Tuesday, February 9, 2010
I agree. Sox fans are much happier with management these days. Goes to show just how content a World Series win will make a fan base.
Bill Pearch   Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Well we need to defer to Aunty Carol since Louis Aparicio was the love of her life. I still am waiting for them to retire Ken Berry's number... one appreciates that man! Truthfully, I believe it was something that was decided between the two players and is a real sign of respect. However, if he blows it as a Sox player... maybe we can take it away.
Aunty Gai   Tuesday, February 9, 2010
AG, I was hoping you'd share you're thoughts. After all, you're the most die-hard Sox fan I know.
Bill Pearch   Tuesday, February 9, 2010
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