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A.J. Burnett is giving Daniel McCutchen’s daughter a college fund in exchange for his jersey number

Feb 27, 2012, 11:33 AM EDT

A.J. Burnett

We often hear about veterans coming to new teams and asking younger players for their old jersey numbers.  Often there is payment involved.

Last year Julio Borbon gave Adrian Beltre his customary number 29 in exchange for a watch. The year before, Jim Thome gave Alexi Casilla a Rolex in exchange for his number with the Twins.  My favorite of all time — which I mention whenever this comes up — was former Giants punter Jeff Feagles who got Plaxico Burress to pay for an outdoor kitchen at his vacation home in Phoenix in exchange for number 17 and — before that — got Eli Manning to send the Feagles’ family on a vacation to Florida in order to give up number 10. Dude was a ninja.

The latest in this sub-sub-sub genre of baseball news comes from Pittsburgh, where new Pirates starter A.J. Burnett wanted to wear his lucky (Lucky? Sure, lucky) number 34. Except Daniel McCutchen wears it.  Or, wore it, because A.J. has ponied up:

Some players get a watch when a veteran who joins the team takes their jersey number. Daniel McCutchen got a college fund. For his unborn daughter, due in May.

It was McCutchen’s idea, by the way. Burnett asked him what he wanted and McCutchen said a college fund.

Now, to be sure, a 529 fund can be in all manner of amounts and, as McCutchen notes in the article, its true value will be determined in 18 or 19 years when it matures and his daughter goes to college.  The initial investment by Burnett could very well be less — much less — than a Rolex.

But the optics here are pretty great. Way better than a vacation or a watch or a grill. Good for McCutchen for thinking of it and Burnett  for doing it.

  1. phukyouk - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:39 AM

    So what exactly do they do with the watches when they get them?
    throw them in the pile i suppose?

  2. Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:40 AM

    By my count, the number of college semesters paid for by Burnett are roughly equal to the number of games the Pirates will win on days he takes the mound.

  3. Jonny 5 - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:54 AM

    And Cinco Ocho ponied up a Rolex to get his 58 from Bastardo too.

  4. davidpom50 - Feb 27, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    Apparently Plax stiffed Feagles on that remodeling bill…–jersey-numbers-never-as-easy-as-1-2-3

  5. joshftw - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    So really, it’s the Yankees who are sending McCutchens’ daughter to college.

  6. Ben - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:02 PM

    That’s both sweet and awfully practical, given Daniel McCutchen’s status as a fringe major leaguer.

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      Good call – there’s no reason for Daniel to believe he’s guaranteed to be worth enough to never have to worry about his kids’ education.
      Smart thinking, and despite whether this was cheaper or not for AJ, I like him a little more for agreeing to it.

      • phukyouk - Feb 27, 2012 at 1:34 PM

        I’m confused about this statement. 10 yrs in the majors at the league min. and he is guaranteed enough to know that he can afford pretty much ANY college that his kid(s) want to go to, right?

        either way i think its an incredibly great thing to do, think of someone other than yourself for a change is always nice.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 27, 2012 at 1:43 PM

        Who knows what life will throw at him in 18 years. And not all ballplayers are Warren Buffett when it comes to handling money, you know. If I’m him, I ask for my children’s future regardless. Like I said, smart thinking.

      • Ben - Feb 27, 2012 at 1:44 PM

        phukyouk, the dude has pitched 188.2 innings in the majors, and he’s 27. He’s an elbow injury away from never pitching again because he’s not really good enough for teams to keep taking a flyer on and guarantee him money. If he makes it 10 years making 500k/year he should do alright, for sure. But who knows?
        Joel Zumaya keeps getting thrown money because teams hope to catch lightening in a bottle. Daniel McCutchen is almost the definition of fungible.

      • phukyouk - Feb 27, 2012 at 2:16 PM

        I suppose you guys are right, but im going to go out on a limb and say that AJ gave him, what? like 5-10K TOPS. dont get my wrong, i think its a shitload better than an overpriced watch but i would seriously hope that whatever happens to this guy he takes his few million and puts aside money for his kids college funds.

  7. paulsdamnblog - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:04 PM

    Hey Craig, sidenote to the Feagles/Burress story. Feagles never got paid, Burress got out of it by going to jail.,265384

  8. rc33 - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Mesuspects that college fund will go the route of most college funds; left at the craps table at Bellagio.

    • pellypell - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:25 PM

      What the heck is mesuspects? I tried Googling “Mesu Spects” and nothing comes up, nor does “Mesus Pects”

      • gerryb323 - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:31 PM

        I think Mesus Pects is the new, self-centered Halladay’s Bicepts handle.

      • phukyouk - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:42 PM

        I hate myself for being able to figure this out.. but i think its Me Suspects. oy!

    • goforthanddie - Feb 27, 2012 at 3:26 PM

      It’s “Methinks”, and apparently you don’t.

  9. ryanindusblue - Feb 27, 2012 at 12:37 PM


  10. The Baseball Idiot - Feb 27, 2012 at 5:47 PM

    John Kruk once gave up his number for a case of beer.

    He’s my hero.

  11. Ranjit - Feb 27, 2012 at 6:54 PM

    What a snob. — Rick Santorum

  12. pisano - Feb 27, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    Who cares, the only thing I’m interested in is he’s not wearing the Yankee uniform anymore.

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