Dad, What Do Those Numbers Mean?
On Saturday my 11-year-old son Logan and I hosted the radio station's bus to the Twins-White Sox game at Target Field. It was a perfect day for baseball. The sun was shining with temps in the mid-70s.
Admittedly I am a much bigger sports fan than my son, so I was more than willing to answer any questions he had about the game, the players, the stadium, etc. He's an inquisitive boy and had many. After explaining to him the pros and cons of the designated hitter, he then asked me about the red circled numbers above left field.
I told him that they represented the retired jersey numbers of past Twins greats. Harmon Killebrew (3), Rod Carew (29), Tony Oliva (6), Kent Hrbek (14), Kirby Puckett (34), Bert Blyleven (28) and Tom Kelly (10). Then he asked about the blue number 42. I explained that number was retired by ALL teams in honor of Jackie Robinson, the first black baseball player in Major League Baseball. Logan recalled the movie '42' and remembered that it was about Jackie Robinson.
A few minutes later he asked if any women had ever played in the Major Leagues. When I told him they had not, he asked why. I kind of struggled with that answer and said that there were many talented women softball players. But he kept pushing the question. I tried to explain the physical difference between men and women and the skill set that was required to play professional baseball, but felt that he wasn't buying my answer. After a pause, he looked at me and said "Maybe someday when a woman becomes the first one to play in the Major Leagues, they'll retire her jersey too...just like Jackie Robinson". I couldn't have been more proud of him than I was at that moment.