The resurfacing of Oscar Taveras at the major league level -- hopefully to stay this time -- makes me wonder what the St. Louis Cardinals were thinking when they gave the guy they expect to be their star of the future Mike Shannon's old number.
Shannon, 74, has been with the Redbirds organization since 1958. His streak of continuous association with the St. Louis organization exceeds even that of Red Schoendienst who left for the New York Giants in 1956 and spent time with the Milwaukee Braves before returning to St. Louis in 1961. So it stands to reason that the Cardinals would be likely to retire his number when he finally hangs up his microphone at some point in the not-too-distant future.
Tavares wouldn't even hit free agency for the first time before Shannon sees his 80th birthday. Number 18 was locked up with pitching coach Dave Duncan during the Tony La Russa era. After Duncan left, I was surprised the Birds didn't hold it back as they have Willie Mcgee's number 51, Mark McGwire's 25 and Darrell Kyle's 57.
Taveras wore 15 at Class AAA Memphis -- which the Cardinals oddly gave his teammate Randal Grichuk when the latter was called up just before Taveras made his major league debut.
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Maybe Taveras really preferred a number like 3, which Mark Ellis currently wears. That's been something of a revolving numeral over the past decade and it will almost surely be available when the off-season makes Ellis a free agent. But, if that's not the case, I'd hate to see the club tear the number 18 off Taveras' back.
It just seems odd to me as Shannon, who has slowed down and taken some road trips off in recent years, reaches his twilight years that the Birds wouldn't think ahead to honor him.