With the arrival of big name free agent Adam Dunn, Lastings Milledge reached out and made a gesture. The young center fielder deferred to his elder Dunn and gave up his number 44 jersey. Dunn had worn 44 all his career in Cincinnati and Milledge didn't even have to be asked.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
"He hit 240 (homers) the last six years," Milledge said. "How...am I going to wear that and let him wear another number?"
Milledge will now wear number 85, an odd number for any Major League player. Traditionally higher numbers are reserved for those in spring training who are trying to make the big league club. A good way to tell what chance a player has of making the club is if his number is above or below 50. Milledge chose 85 simply because he was born in 1985.
The number change has already brought some humor to the clubhouse. Manny Acta reportedly stuck a piece of white tap with "Ocho-Cinco 85" written in black marker on Milledge's locker, a reference to the Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad Johnson.
While Dunn didn't ask Milledge for the number, he was grateful his new teammate deferred to him. He didn't however agree with Milledge's choice for his new number.
"That number's so ugly," Dunn said. "I might just give this one back."
Posted by Yard Yoder at 7:11 PM