Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Hawkins Surrenders #21, Dignity

I am Paul O'Neill's smirking revenge.

LaTroy Hawkins
has come to his senses:

Tired of receiving flak for wearing a number last used by Paul O’Neill, the Yankees’ LaTroy Hawkins has decided to surrender his No. 21 before the club opens a two-game series against the Red Sox on Wednesday.

...Hawkins wore No. 22 with the Yankees during Spring Training, but switched to No. 21 when infielder Morgan Ensberg decided he no longer wanted to wear it. Ensberg was randomly assigned the number upon reporting to camp as a non-roster invitee and later revealed that he received numerous vulgar comments from Yankees fans during the Grapefruit League campaign.

Hawkins eagerly accepted No. 21 as a tribute to Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente but quickly learned that a pinstriped No. 21 has other meanings for Yankees fans. Unaware he was donning a number that had not been worn since O’Neill retired following the 2001 World Series, Hawkins was booed when introduced on Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. Fans chanted “Paul O’Neill” during one of his appearances in the Bronx.

According to, Hawkins made the decision after discussions with Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and other Yankees veterans, who told Hawkins that the number is not worth the headache it’s causing.

“I figure if it’s important enough for Jeter and Mariano and some other veterans to ask me about it, it’s not worth it to keep wearing the number,” Hawkins told the Web site.

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