Yesterday, I wrote about what I was looking forward to this season and that post gave my colleague Matt Imbrogno over at The Yankee Analysts an idea to do a bunch of posts leading into Spring Training. Each post would focus on the number of days left, either by using it as a stat, honoring uniform numbers or any other clever way we could think of to write about the number.
Since my original post was the catalyst to this idea, I figured I’d write about the number 38 today on this site. I’m only going back 20 years because a lot of players wore the number and we don’t need this post turning into a Bill Simmons-esque long form piece.
So without any further delay…
38 is an interesting number because for one thing, it’s my current age. Yes, I (along with Derek Jeter and R.A. Dickey) am a 1974 baby who is turning 39 this year. It’s pretty cool company to have but they’re multi-millionaires who do what they love and I blog about what they do while wearing my pijamas all day.
And now that I just depressed myself, let’s dive into uniform number 38 and take a look back at who donned it in Pinstripes.
Brian Bruney wore it for the 2009 championship squad.
Chase Wright wore it in 2007. Poor Wright, he of the four home run game in Fenway Park. Oh, no, he didn’t hit four home runs, he allowed four home runs in a row on April 22nd 2007. It was pretty painful to watch. And unfortunately, a lot of people watched it because it was the nationally televised, Sunday night ESPN game that weekend.
Next up, 2005, another year in which two players shared the number. First, we have Ramiro Mendoza who had made his way back to the Yankees after playing for the Red Sox in 2003 and 2004. (He wore 57 and 55 during his first Yankee tenure). Red Sox fans accused him of being an “embedded Yankee” in 2003 when his numbers weren’t so great. Next up is Wedsel Gary Groom, better known as Buddy Groom who was another pitcher for the 2005 squad. He was with the Yankees until July of that year when he was sent to Arizona in a deal made on the 31st of the month.
Travis Lee wore #38 in 2004 and if you don’t remember him, it’s understandable, he only appeared in seven games.
Skipping back to 2000 brings us to Jason Grimsley who also wore #38 in 1999.
(By the way, are you noticing a pattern here? Most of the guys I’ve mentioned so far have been pitchers.)
15 years ago in 1998 (yes, 1998 was 15 years ago, I know, it also amazes me that it has been that long) Ricky Ledee was #38 for the Yankees and he played in 42 games that season.
Homer Bush and Scott Pose both wore #38 in 1997. Pose for 54 games and Bush for 10. Bush changed his number to #22 in 1998. Pose didn’t play in the Majors in 1998 and finished his career in 2000 with the Kansas City Royals.
Do you remember Jeff Patterson and Josias Manzanillo? Manzanillo played for both the Yankees and the Mets in 1995 and Patterson appeared in only three games during the 1995 season – his only playing time in the Majors.
And finally, since we’re only travelling back to 1993, our last #38 is Matt Nokes who actually wore it from 1990-1994. Nokes was one of the notable faces of the pre-Dynasty Yankees. He was a serviceable player who played one more year in the Majors after leaving the Yankees, splitting time with Baltimore and Colorado. He retired at 31-years-old.
Some miscellaneous facts about uniform number 38:
- The first guy to wear it was Marius Russo in 1939.
- Yogi Berra wore it in 1946 before he changed his number to 8. Mel Queen and Frank Hiller also wore #8 in 1946.
- Johnny Blanchard wore it in 1955 and again from 1959-1965.
I hope you enjoyed this brief trip down memory lane.
For the rest of the 38′s and every other number to appear on a Yankee player’s back, you can go to Yankeenumbers.com which is a great resource for research like this.