Saturday, March 29, 2008

Hawkins Snatches Up No. 21

From Tyler Kepner:
When Ensberg learned he would make the team last week, he decided he could not continue wearing No. 21, which was last worn by Paul O’Neill. But reliever LaTroy Hawkins grabbed 21, and he said he would wear it to honor Roberto Clemente, who died 10 days after Hawkins was born in 1972.
I commend Ensberg for realizing how important no. 21 is to the Yankees and especially their fans, it's a shame Hawkins doesn't get this. When you wear 21 on Yankee Pinstripes, you're wearing Paul O'Neill's number, not Roberto Clemente's.

And please don't misunderstand me; Clemente was great, on and off the field, I'm not trying to take any of that away from him, and if MLB wants to retire his number throughout the league, as some have suggested, go ahead. But there are better ways to honor Clemente than putting his number on the back of a pitcher with a career ERA of 4.68 ERA.


Anonymous said...

Agreed, that's Pauly's no. the Yankees should never have given it to Ensberg in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I agree, and on top of that he just got here, who does he think he is?

Derek said...


And the curse is lifted off Ensberg and now placed on Hawkins...

Shame, I thought Hawkins was one of the last african americans in pro baseball who had a great demure about him without that awful chip on his shoulder that others have(milton bradley, sheff, etc.).

Guess I'm back to not liking the guy now.

RETIRE 21!!!

Greg Cohen said...

Wow, harsh words Derek.

Do you really feel that this is about him having a chip on his shoulder?

I just think it's more about him not understanding how important no. 21 is to Yankees fans.

Sean said...

So what number did Ensberg take, did he just swap with Hawkins? Where did you see this?

Derek said...

No Greg,

It has nothing to do with him having a chip on his shoulder, I was saying I appreciate him for NOT having a chip on his shoulder, unlike the other african american athletes that have beared pinstripes in the past 10 years not named Raines... but now that he, as you said, doesnt realize the importance of 21 to the fans, I'm gonna have to put him in the pile with the guys that do.

Bad move by Hawkins, he can expect boobirds when he comes in out of the pen.

Greg Cohen said...


I'm not sure what number Ensberg took, but I read this in Tyler Kepner's article from today's Times.


Oh, I see what you mean now. I just don't want to make this a race issue - For me, race doesn't have anything to do with this.

Greg Cohen said...


Peter Abraham said Ensberg took no. 11.

Anonymous said...

It has a lot to do with race. A white player would not have taken Pauly's no. 21. That is a sin. Hawkins will definitely be hearing boos from my crew and I.

Greg Cohen said...


Come on, you don't really believe that.

Derek said...

hahaha terrible anonymous... terrible

JMiller11 said...

Horrible move my LaTroy Hawkins to snag the number 21 fter Ensberg dropped it and made it clear as to why. Infact this should be more frowned upon than Betemit's failure to give up #14 for the same cause.

As far as it being a race issue, thqats just the easiest thing you guys can find to blame. A couple of you guys are real idiots. It was a white player who took the number to begin with and without the constant buzz about the number he would have kept the number. He gave in under the pressure.

Come on guys.

Sean said...

Yeah,I saw earlier Ensberg took 11. Other than Kep, I still havent seen or heard anything about Hawkins switching from 22 to 21, but I am sure that is indeed the case. I think it's disgraceful.

Jmiller, Ensberg didnt take the number, it was given to him. As a non-roster invite he doesn't get much pull in that area, and wouldn't give off a very good impression if he tried to switch prior to making the team. I think it's very commendable that as soon as he was added to the 40 man he made an attempt to get a different number.

Anonymous said...

Can someone explain to me why this is the player's fault?

21 is a number that is made available by the New York Yankees. If fans have a problem with the number being reissued, the problem is with the Yankees, not the player.

The Yankees know perfectly well how to retire a number. The also know how to withhold one that is not officially retired.

Latroy Hawkins is to be commended for honoring Roberto Clemente. If Yankees fans have a problem with that, they should complain about it to the Yankees, not to the player who took a number that they made available.

Greg Cohen said...

I agree that it's the team's fault for making the number available in the first place, but after Hawkins saw how Ensberg gave up the number in respect to O'Neill he should have known better than to snatch it up like this.

And if Hawkins loves Clemente so much he should write his name/number on the bill of his cap or on his shoes. When you wear a 21 Yankee jersey, you're wearing Paul O'Neill's number, not Clemente's.

Ian said...

I have started a Facebook group to rally around the cause

It not so much about Hawkins the person, but the Yankees decision not to retire #21. However, the only way the organization will hear it is if the fans boo whoever is wearing 21.

Remember, that Ruben Sierra wore 21 for his entire career prior to coming to NY, in honor of Clemente. He could have taken the # in his 2nd tour of duty long after O'Neill retired. Clemens too.

Greg Cohen said...

Nice idea Ian, and that's a good point about Sierra and Clemenes.