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15 vs. 19

I was asked to explain why Jon Jay switched from number 15 to number 19 prior to the Cardinals' Sunday night game against the Cubs. And, since I'm a people pleaser, here goes:

New St. Louis shortstop Rafael Furcal has worn 15 since he joined the Dodgers in 2006. Sometimes a veteran will pull rank on a younger player -- Jay is in his second season in the major leagues -- and ask to keep his number if he's traded to a new club. Most clubs will leave it up to the players to work it out, so Furcal might have offered Jay some cash to give up 15. Or he might have just asked nicely and Jay wanted to be a nice guy so he gave it up.

Apparently it was pretty important to Furcal to keep his digits. Cardinals fans may remember when Will Clark joined the Cardinals he arrived to find a number 24 jersey in his locker because St. Louis catcher Mike Matheny wore his customary 22. Clark said he didn't want to be a pain in the posterior, so he would keep wearing 24. But Matheny insisted that Clark take 22 and the backstop wore 44 for the rest of the season. But Furcal's 15 jersey was ready before he hit the doorway. So it wouldn't surprise me if he told Cardinals GM John Mozeliak he would waive his no-trade clause to come to the Redbirds -- IF they gave him number 15.

Jay may have been less attached to 15 than Furcal. When he played for the University of Miami he wore number 30. As a member of Team USA he sported 25. He wore 23 with Class AA Springfield. Although he wore 15 while playing with Class AAA Memphis and at his first professional stop in Class A Quad Cities, he was probably happy just not to be forced to return to the number 68 jersey he wore in 2010 spring training.

While Furcal has worn 15 the entire time he played in Los Angeles, it's not the only number he wore in the majors. From 2000-2005 he wore number 1 as a member of the Atlanta Braves. It would have been a much bigger issue if he insisted on wearing Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith's retired number.

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