This past week I turned 22 years old.
Year in and year out, my birthday is intertwined with the start of Spring Training. Really, is there a better present I could possibly receive.
As stories of baseball begin to enter the mainstream sports media it is perfect time to be thinking spring. It was surely easy for me, and many citizens of the midwest and east coast, as temperatures climbed to the mid-60s. Friends and I were able to hit the ball field and toss around the baseball and get some cracks in at the plate.
Another perfect present.
With all the gifts bestowed to me this week it is only necessary to give back the homage to the national past time. As is customary every year, I like to pay tribute to people who have associations with the age I am turning. Now, the first player that is easily recognized for adorning 22 is Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen.
Cutch really needs no introduction.
Named MLB Network’s top center fielder in the game right now, he is still blossoming into a dominating 5-tool player. He is a fan favorite and will soon be recognized as not just the center fielder, but the center piece of the team that helped turn Pittsburgh around.
After searching for players that have worn 22 recently and in the past, I found that the number is pretty scarce. Here is a list of the players that wore 22 last season:
I guess not so scarce when 20 of 30 teams have the number represented.
One team, however, will never see another No. 22. The Baltimore Orioles
The Hall of fame pitcher had his number retired by the club in 1985, just one year removed from his retirement.
His election into Cooperstown occurred in 1990. His entire 20 year career took place in Baltimore.
Palmer’s connection to the team is even stronger, today. He is a color commentator for MASN’s broadcast of Orioles games.
While we’re at it, lets not just stop at 22. Let’s look at February 15th as a whole.
Joining me on birth that day includes the likes of activist Susan B. Anthony, SImpsons creator Matt Groening, actor Chris Farley and Pittsburgh radio host Rocco DeMaro.
Two unique athletes share it with me, too.
Former Pittsburgh Penguins hockey player Jaromir Jagr.
Former relief pitcher Ugeth Urbina.
He is currently serving a prison sentence of 14 years for two charges of attempted murder.
As another birthday has come and gone I’m glad I took the time to reflect on the year and numbers that are so special, not just to me, but numerous others. It’s important to take in the small things in life and no matter how old we get, birthdays will always be there for us to get a sense of importance and respect from our families and friends.
We all have earned these 365 days and we deserve to have a little fun.