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John Lackey gives Pat Neshek a ball autographed by Babe Ruth in exchange for his jersey number

Aug 20, 2014, 1:03 PM EDT

John Lackey Getty Images

There is a long and rich history of players paying other players in order to get their jersey number. Usually it’s a watch or a big charitable donation or something. We saw a college fund once. My favorite ever was former New York 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.

It just happened again on the Cardinals, where John Lackey — who has worn number 41 for a while — bought the Cards’ 41 from Pat Neshek. Here’s the payment:

Not bad. I may have preferred a college fund for my kids, but I’m boring that way. Good haul, Pat.

  1. chrisknowsbaseball - Aug 20, 2014 at 1:10 PM

    Maybe the Ruth ball could be cashed in for a college fund?

  2. rbts2014 - Aug 20, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    that is the absolute perfect gift Lackey could have given Pat, knowing he enjoys sports collectibles and memorabilia.

    He makes enough dough to fund a college fund so the gift won’t need to be cashed in.

    • Paper Lions - Aug 20, 2014 at 1:33 PM

      Exactly. Neshek is one of the rare baseball players that is a huge fan of the game and that is a baseball card and memorabilia enthusiast….the rare guy that both plays in the majors and also really loves the history of the game (not just the history of his own accomplishments).

      • stex52 - Aug 20, 2014 at 2:00 PM

        It’s a little extra fun to watch guys like that play. It helps if they are good. But if they love the game, it shows.

      • Paper Lions - Aug 20, 2014 at 2:36 PM

        Yeah, Neshek is a special case that is fun to root for, recent personal tragedy, fringy MLB player that signed a minor league deal, great guy that loves the game….and then just having a tremendous season as well.

  3. pete2112 - Aug 20, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    That’s a pretty darn good trade for Pat Neshek. Although I hope the ball and its signature are authentic… there’s something about that Lackey guy that seems shady…. that’s a joke before I get bashed by the Lackey lovers…if there are any.

    • Bryz - Aug 20, 2014 at 1:26 PM

      I think you’d be bashed more because the letter of authenticity is also shown with the baseball.

      • pete2112 - Aug 20, 2014 at 1:30 PM

        Well I can’t access Twitter pictures at work.

    • yahmule - Aug 20, 2014 at 3:08 PM

      I know you’re joking, Pete, but the fact that that its not an official ball and isn’t signed on the sweet spot actually does as much to validate its authenticity as anything else.

      • pete2112 - Aug 20, 2014 at 3:16 PM

        I am, but thanks for that bit of information. I’m actually thinking about starting a collection of signed balls.

  4. stlouis1baseball - Aug 20, 2014 at 1:21 PM

    Serious trade for Neshek. The Dude is a huge baseball fan.
    He will cherish this as much (if not more)…than the average fan to be sure.

  5. fearlessleader - Aug 20, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Pat Neshek’s undefeated season continues.

    • historiophiliac - Aug 20, 2014 at 1:50 PM


      • fearlessleader - Aug 20, 2014 at 2:26 PM

        Stop being shrill. :)

      • historiophiliac - Aug 20, 2014 at 2:29 PM

        If you think you can out-homer me, you are wrong. 😉

  6. sfm073 - Aug 20, 2014 at 1:33 PM

    A professional baseball player can afford a college fund, what he can’t do is go ask Babe Ruth for an autograph.

  7. SocraticGadfly - Aug 20, 2014 at 1:41 PM

    Just as long as Lackey can stop the habit of “giving up” other things in St. Louis, like runs, walks, etc.

  8. philliesblow - Aug 20, 2014 at 1:42 PM

    A Babe Ruth ball is very cool, but with both Lackey & Neshek being pitchers maybe a Walter Johnson or Christy Mathewson ball would have been more appropriate.

    • happytwinsfan - Aug 20, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      Why not Ruth. He was the best hitting pitcher in the history of baseball.

    • pbastille - Aug 20, 2014 at 1:56 PM

      He won 94 games as a pitcher, his last in 1933. Career ERA of 2.28

  9. cincinata - Aug 20, 2014 at 1:46 PM

    This just goes to shows the MLB players superstitions. It is very silly but all of the ticks and mannerisms shown by the continual cap adjusting and wrist band adjusting is all a part of that nervous tic going on for a long time. So is no stepping on the lines for pitchers going on and off the mound. Lackey will never believe that Neshek’s number is not lucky, it is Neshek’s pitching that makes him 6-0, with an era of under 1.0

  10. chip56 - Aug 20, 2014 at 1:57 PM

    Best uniform number story is Rich Seubert of the NY Giants. He was (at the time) a reserve offensive lineman and when he would come in for jumbo packages the official would have to call out his number followed by the words “is eligible.” Seubert’s number? 69. So every few downs Giants Stadium would erupt with laughter and cheers when the ref would get on the microphone and say “69 is eligible”

    • sportsfan18 - Aug 20, 2014 at 2:12 PM

      nothing like those junior high football games huh?

      • chip56 - Aug 20, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        Oh get over yourself.

  11. someguyinva - Aug 20, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    “George signed this? I take it back. You’re not in trouble, you’re dead where you stand.”

  12. number42is1 - Aug 20, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    ” i don’t know.. it was signed by some lady.. Baby ruth….:

    • someguyinva - Aug 20, 2014 at 2:17 PM

      You’re killing me, Smalls.

      • number42is1 - Aug 20, 2014 at 2:36 PM

        God i love that movie so much!

      • someguyinva - Aug 20, 2014 at 4:12 PM

        Putting aside the baseball stuff (which is good on its own) it’s one of the truest movie representations of what it was to be a kid.

  13. pr0phet4 - Aug 20, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    Pretty solid of Craig to recycle two sentences from his two year old post that he linked to.

  14. tigersfandan - Aug 20, 2014 at 6:35 PM

    Pat Neshek should be a GM!

  15. shane3131 - Aug 20, 2014 at 9:32 PM

    Lackey is nuts

    • cincinata - Aug 21, 2014 at 1:18 PM

      Well, lets not say nuts just yet. What if he wins 4 in a row? We don’t feel that a number makes one a better pitcher/player, however if he does, who knows what a difference it will make? This game is at least 50% mental and attitude. I will be greatly surprised if he wins one game because of this number, but lets see.

      • cincinata - Aug 22, 2014 at 11:21 AM

        When is Lack’s next date?

  16. cincinata - Aug 22, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    Lackey’s (correction)

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