When it comes to players that are synonomous with their number, Albert Pujols and the number 5 are becoming inseparable. He’s worn the number on his back for over 1,700 Major League games, he has a restaurant named “Pujols 5″, the royalty-inspired personal logo has the number slipped in there and it will most definitely be going on the wall in Busch Stadium when he strolls into Cooperstown.
With all the hype firing up about the Marlins becoming serious players in the Pujols Sweepstakes at this year’s Winter Meetings, the question is, will he be able to keep his trademark number?
One might think it’s a no-brainer because the Marlins have never had a player good enough to have his number retired. Sorry, Jeff Conine and Dontrelle Willis, you just don’t qualify. And, as we’ve noted, their mohawk’d prophet fans think there will be no problems. So what’s the hold up?
Carl Barger says Albert will have to find a new number to put on the back of those hideous new Marlins jerseys.
Barger was hired as the Marlins first President in 1991, but just a year later – before the franchise had played their first game – Barger died after collapsing at the 1992 Winter Meetings. The team named their training complex after their inaugural president and retired the number 5 in his honor. According to Wikipedia, the number was chosen for Barger because his favorite player, Joe Dimaggio, wore it throughout his career with the Yankees.
Conclusion: if you sign with the Marlins, Albert, be ready to pick out a new number, new logo and new restaurant name.
Of course, the restaurant could make a subtle change to “Pujols $200 million”. Has a nice ring to it.