Well, it finally happened.
Jeff Conine started tonight’s game against the Phillies wearing No. 19, having tossed aside theNo. 28 issued to him upon joining the Mets last month. The Mets.com roster indicates he swapped jerseys with reserve catcher Sandy Alomar Jr. Not for nothing but we’d anticipatedthis move for awhile.
The change couldn’t hurt either guy. Conine, who’d frequently worn 19 during his lengthy career, was batting just .174 (4-for-23) in 28. Alomar had just 3 hits in 21 at-bats for a .143 batting average and an OPS+ of -13.
MLB.com’s Anthno DiComo has all the non-drama.
Stories abound in professional sports of athletes trading numbers for cars, cash, jewelry — you name it. But Sandy Alomar Jr. didn’t need any of those things. As soon as he realized the significance that No. 19 had for Jeff Conine, he offered up a swap for free. So beginning Friday, Conine will again wear his familiar 19, while Alomar will assume No. 28.
Conine has had some form of the No. 9 in his uniform throughout his 17-year career. Mostly, it’s been 19, though in Baltimore, he had to settle for No. 18 (one plus eight equals nine).
So when he saw Alomar sporting a No. 19 wrist band — an old band that clubhouse attendants mistakenly put in Alomar’s locker — Conine asked where he got it. That sparked the conversation and the swap.