A lot of great Yankees have worn the number 19. Johnny Murphy had it from 34-46. Bob Turley had it from 55-62. Dave Righetti had it from 81-90. The greatest Yankee ever to wear it? Whitey Ford, who had it for one season, 1950.
Now, 19 will belong to another highly-touted Yankee pitcher, Masahiro Tanaka.
The Japanese sensation, who signed for $155 million over seven years, wore 18 in Japan. The last Yankee to sport #19? Ramiro Pena in 2011.
Other prominent Yankees who wore 19? Aaron Boone. Luis Sojo. Dick Tidrow. Luis Polonia. Fritz Peterson. Bubba Crosby.
How does Tanaka feel knowing the number on his back is the same one Bubby Crosby wore? Goosebump time.
Seriously though, the only number that matters with Tanaka is that win total. If the Yankees don’t get at least 15 from him this year, it’s not going to look like a successful first campaign.
20 would be even better. 25 might be stretching it but you never know. The guy is a phenom.
Oh, the other number that matters? 28. As in, 28 World Series titles, the number the Yankees will have if they win it this year. Uphill climb, but having Tanaka can’t hurt.
Check out the NYY Ticket Exchange for this season so you can see Tanaka on the mound at Yankee Stadium!