Baltimore Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman decided to change his jersey number to honor the late Roy Halladay.
The Baltimore Orioles pitcher from Colorado made a very cool move changing his jersey to #34 to keep the memory of his idol alive on the mound.
In a Tweet, Gausman shared how he and his father watched Halladay pitch when Gausman was a child. Gausman called Halladay his hero and credits Halladay with inspiring him to pursue his dreams of being a pitcher.
An inspirational player
In the history of the MLB, a small percentage ballplayers have come from Colorado. Halladay proved that players from the Centennial State could play ball and this helped Gausman realize he could do the same.
Meaningful numbers in baseball
In an article from Brittany Ghiroli with MLB.com, Gausman shared how his number #39 was just a number that ended up on his jersey. He actually began his tenure with the O’s wearing #37, but switched after his rookie season. Now, when fans ask Gausman why he is wearing #34, he will have an answer that shows his passion for the game and his respect for Halladay.
Gausman is from Aurora, Colorado where he attended Grandview High School. Halladay was from Denver and attended Arvada High School. The two pitchers had 14 years separating them, but their high schools were only 35 miles away from each other. Unfortunately, Gausman was never able to meet his baseball idol.
Halladay retired after the 2013 season, which happened to be Gausman’s first season. Even though interleague play was happening in 2013, these two never were on the same field at the same time. Halladay was playing for the Philadelphia Phillies when Gausman had his rookie season with the Orioles.
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Hopefully, Gausman will someday be the spark that gets a young ballplayer from Colorado to recognize his dream, too. By being able to tell his story through his number, Gausman might be able to do just that.
Other players representing their baseball idols
Gausman is not the first MLB player to change his number to honor a hero. Troy Tulowitzki and Xander Bogaerts both wear #2 to honor their favorite shortstop, Derek Jeter. Hanley Ramirez wears #13 to honor Alex Rodriguez. Justin Verlander wears #35 because his baseball idol is Frank Thomas. Mariano Rivera was the last MLB player to wear #42. He didn’t choose the number as a rookie, but he did understand the importance of that iconic number that was worn by Jackie Robinson.
Gausman did get to make the choice and he does understand the importance of representing a player like Halladay. And, Gausman will do a fine job of wearing the number keeping Halladay’s legacy alive.