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The Cardinals give a player the number 32 for the first time since Josh Hancock’s death

Feb 7, 2013, 6:19 AM EDT

Josh Hancock

Derrick Goold reports that the Cardinals have issued number 32 to a player for the first time since 2007.  The player who has it: catcher Rob Johnson. The last player to wear it: Josh Hancock, who was killed in an auto accident in April of that year.

Hancock, you’ll recall, was intoxicated, texting and driving 68 miles per hour when he smashed his SUV into the back of a parked flatbed tow truck.  The Cardinals had not retired his number or anything, but they hadn’t issued it.  It had been available to other players if they wanted it before Johnson took it, but no one did, making it for something of an awkward memorial.

As Goold notes, though, the Cardinals have so many numbers either retired or currently not in circulation because they may be retired one day, it was inevitable that someone was going to wear 32 again.

  1. mrfloydpink - Feb 7, 2013 at 7:54 AM

    Good. Hard to think of someone less worthy of the honor of having his number retired than Josh Hancock.

    • mrfloydpink - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:50 AM

      To all the thumbs down: The crash that Hancock caused that took his life was the second drunk driving crash he caused within the span of THREE DAYS. Someone who is that selfish–or that unable to learn from his mistakes, or that disdainful of the law, or whatever it is–is a jerk and is an excellent candidate to take someone’s life sooner or later. I, for one, am glad that it ended up being his, as opposed to that of some innocent bystander.

      • digbysellers - Feb 7, 2013 at 12:50 PM

        Yes he made mistakes and it was lucky that nobody else got hurt. However, I find it distasteful that you say you’re “glad” that the life taken was his…that’s what the thumbs down is for. Your original comment was banal at best and you felt the need to boo hoo about getting a thumbs down on a website. I think you need better things to do.

    • forsch31 - Feb 7, 2013 at 12:37 PM

      It wasn’t retired. It simply wasn’t issued to another player for a while. Two different things. That’s what accounts for my thumbs down.

      Goold also mentions that the number has been made available to players the past few seasons, but players didn’t take it. It’s a bit understandable–32 isn’t exactly a common number, and given the fact the player died while still wearing the number as an active player, its probably safe to assume the more superstitious players didn’t want to have anything to do with it (and seriously, what ballplayer isn’t superstitious?).

  2. digbysellers - Feb 7, 2013 at 7:59 AM

    Geez chief nobody said they were giving him the honor of having his number retired…relax.

  3. paperlions - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:08 AM

    It would be harsh, but the best use of that number would be for the Cardinals to give it to the player (or manager) arrested for DUI most recently. The most effective deterrent to endangering lives via DUI is the constant reminder of someone that died doing it.

    • cardinalcrazy - Feb 7, 2013 at 8:39 AM

      Or a broadcaster, Dan Mclaughlin. Joking aside, I drinking and driving is a terrible thing to do. Unfortunately a lot of people still do it. Not that I condone such an act but there are by far worse things that people do. Again, please don’t drink and drive! I usually get hotels the nights I go to baseball games even though I only live 15 miles from the stadium. That’s also because my tickets include inclusive all you can drink so I want to take advantage of it!

    • historiophiliac - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:41 AM

      The problem with that is it could lead to rotating numbers in a season.

      /suppresses Red Sox joke

  4. umrguy42 - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:27 AM

    Now this leaves me wondering if they’ll give out 57 (Darryl Kile) any time soon.

    • blues1988 - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      quote from goold article: “That brings us to the handful of unofficially retired numbers, ones held out of circulation in case they are eventually retired or out of respect for the player. For example: Albert Pujols’ No. 5, Mark McGwire’s No. 25 (now that he’s no longer the hitting coach), and Willie McGee’s No. 51. Darryl Kile’s No. 57, which like Hancocks’ 32 appeared in a black medallion as a memorial following his death, has also not been issued in recent years, though it isn’t officially retired.”

      • umrguy42 - Feb 7, 2013 at 9:48 AM

        Yes I know. I read the article, and already knew anyway. The point being, however, “unofficially”. Really a question of, will somebody come up/in who wants the number, that the club feels will, not sure how to say this, but, provide the respect the number needs.

    • forsch31 - Feb 7, 2013 at 12:39 PM

      My guess…not for a long time. Probably not until the next generation of fans comes through.

  5. IdahoMariner - Feb 7, 2013 at 12:07 PM

    the most striking thing to me in this post is that someone gave Rob Johnson a catching job.

    • forsch31 - Feb 7, 2013 at 12:43 PM

      Cardinals picked him up for catching depth. They really don’t have any decent prospects who are remotely close to the majors. The closest is probably Cody Stanley, and he was in Palm Beach (A+ league) last year after serving a 50-game suspension.

    • stlouis1baseball - Feb 7, 2013 at 12:54 PM

      LOL! Yeah really Idaho. But with Yadier playing 163 games out of a possible 162 I don’t see Rob getting much playing time. But point taken nonetheless…

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