Behold: Numbers That Don’t Count

MBTN reader Matt today sent along a scan of a 1983 Daily News article showing the accompanying photograph of Davey Johnson posing with jersey No. 31. As we all know, by the time Johnson managed his first game with the Mets in April of 1984, the 31 jersey was long gone and Johnson would wear No. 5. Although the article this story accompanied (click the photo to see it) appeared in a December of 1983 and concerned Johnson’s eligibility for the Hall of Fame,  the photo itself was taken that October, on the day the Mets introduced Johnson as their next manager.

This was an interesting find though. I’ve got copies of Newsday, the Times and the Post from that day, all of which used the same closeup of Johnson’s face to illustrate their stories. But it’s not unprecendented. Back in 2004, on the November day the Mets introduced another new manager, Willie Randolph, they presented him with jersey No. 1 and not the 12 he’d show up in once it was time to play. Similar photo-op phollies struck Mets-in-waiting like Roger Cedeno (11 in the press conference, 19 on the field); Xavier Nady (10; 22), Duaner Sanchez (40; 50); and Chad Bradford (35; 53).

Which brings me to an interesting discovery I made while fleeing a rain delay earlier this season at the new park. Ducking into a Promenade-level memorabilia shop to avoid the downpour I came across (not literally) a selection of “game-used” jerseys from scrubs of the not-so-distant past, selling at the relative bargain price of $100 each. Among the KNIGHT 28s (Brandon, not Ray) and SOSA 29s I spied this curiousity: An alleged “game-worn” No. 17 belonging to Willie Collazo, whose short Met career already included one interesting moment in uni history.

Collazo, who was up briefly in 2007 and 2008 (but did not play in the latter appearance) was issued No. 36 in both stays, so the 17 was out of place. I didn’t think to check whether there were any clues as to what year the jersey was from, but my records show that during Collazo’s entire tenure with the Mets, the 17 jersey would have been available only in the month of April 2008, after David Newhan was gone but before Fernando Tatis had arrived (and even then, Tatis had 17 assigned to him).

Any theories as to how this happened? And what other cases can you recall where a Met was issued a number but never appeared in it?

P.S. The SHaMs are finally off to that run I warned you about… All it took was another embarrassing front-office explosion and a good smackdown by the Nationals, but it’s happening…

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One comment

  1. Jon Springer says:

    Submitted by gored82 on Wed, 07/29/2009 – 10:14pm.
    Clicking on the photo resulted in “page not found;” no article…

    Does Sid Fernandez being issued no. 10 one spring count?

    It looks like the Collazo

    Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/30/2009 – 4:41am.
    It looks like the Collazo jersey doesn’t have the Shea patch on the sleeve (like Sosa’s). If that’s the case and it’s not just the camera angle, then the jersey is most likely from 2007.

    Collazo was #17 while with

    Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/30/2009 – 5:25am.
    Collazo was #17 while with AAA New Orleans, according to a quick Google search, and was called up 9/1/07. David Newhan was in New Orleans at the time and wasn’t called back up until 9/16/07. Perhaps they had this jersey made up, then remembered Newhan was still on the 40-man and was #17, and issued Collazo #36 instead?

    delete edit reply report to Mollom
    You are probably right 1:25

    Submitted by Jon Springer on Thu, 07/30/2009 – 10:08am.
    Good work. I know Newhan was up and down in 07. Anyway, calling this “Game Used” is a bit of a stretch, not that I get the appeal of wearing a shirt some other guy sweated in to begin with.

    Elmer Descends (from the roster)

    Submitted by Gordon Handler (not verified) on Thu, 07/30/2009 – 1:44pm.
    Elmer Dessens DFA’d. Robinson Cancel called up and wearing 29 according to That’s his third uni number (4, 40). Wonder why not 40 again? Seeing 29 behind the plate brings back memories of Alex Trevino.

    Don’t forget

    Submitted by Dave Mackey (not verified) on Fri, 07/31/2009 – 9:50am.
    J.J. Putz was first issued #40, then showed up in #22. (When he did show up.)

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