Since it was announced that Rocco Baldelli has returned to the Rays, there has been some discussion on Twitter about what number Rocco would* wear if he were to suit up with the Rays this season. You see, Rocco’s customary #5 is unavailable. That now belongs to Pat Burrell.
Baldelli is a righthanded-hitting centerfielder, wears number 5 (the number he wore in the minors), has Italian roots on his father’s side and glides through the outfield with the grace of a skater on ice. [Vince] Naimoli, the grandson of an Italian immigrant, even asked Baldelli to wear number 56, in honor of DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak in 1941, during spring training.
So, in spring training before his rookie season, Rocco wore number 56. But that was at the request of Vince Naimoli. Might Rocco return to the only other number he ever wore with the Rays?
Of course, we still think his original #5 can be bought from Burrell. Might only cost him a couple of groupies and a subscription to Highlights magazine.
*Will Rocco wear a number this spring as a minor league instructor?