Thanks to their aggressive approach toward retiring uniform numbers, the New York Yankees find themselves in running out of numerals to put on uniforms. As Brendan Kuty of The Athletic reports, the Yankees are addressing this shortfall of available digits by asking Major League Baseball for permission to no longer issue uniform numbers to manager Aaron Boone and to uniformed members of their (very large) coaching staff.
As Kuty notes, the Yankees have retired a total of 22 numbers, spanning in time from Lou Gehrig's No. 4 in 1939 to Derek Jeter's No. 2 in 2017. No single-digit numbers are available, and the No. 8 has been retired for both Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey. The Yankees' total of 22 retired numbers pretty well dwarf's the Cardinals' second-place tally of 14 retired numbers. Kuty also writes:
"Then there are the numbers the Yankees have tucked away on purpose. Two of them are in reverence for recently departed franchise stars — a practice common throughout the league. They include No. 19 for Masahiro Tanaka and No. 52 for CC Sabathia."
A third number, 69, is also out of circulation for reasons the reader should be able to discern.
A number of managers and coaches across the league either conceal the uniform top under a hoodie or jacket or don't wear the jersey at all, so it's not any kind of unprecedented leap to allow them to go numberless. Doing so would ease the demand for those dwindling numbers, particularly in the Bronx where the supply is shorter than anywhere else. One could argue that teams like the Yankees should be a bit more selective in retiring their uniform numerals, but that particular ship -- and its retired hull number -- has already sailed.