I was thinking yesterday about the Red Sox signing Carlos Delgado last week. And this hit me. When they do bring him up, which should be after a short stint in Pawtucket, what number will he wear?
That should be an easy one. Give him number 21.
We all know who the last Red Sox player to wear that number was. No one has worn it since 1996. Right after the Texas Con Man blew out of Boston, the number wasn't given out, for many reasons. I never understood why management back then, who had a stormy relationship with Clemens, didn't just give it out to some rookie. (They did that with Wade Boggs' number 26 after he left in 1993.)
I have read that the Sox have offered the number to Jonathan Papelbon, but he declined to take it, and I also believe that Josh Beckett decided not to wear 21 either when he came to Boston in 2006. (He did wear that number in Florida.) I think the reasons have more to do with a respect for Clemens from players as opposed to anything else. When the Red Sox were trying to lure Clemens back a few years ago (and thankfully failed), they kept the number open, but now it's time to give it to someone who will gladly take it.
And I'm sure Delgado would if offered. He wore 25 when he came up to the Jays in 1993 (not sure if 21 was available then), but Clemens grabbed it when he arrived in Toronto in 1997. When Delgado arrived at Shea with the Mets (pictured), he took 21 in honor of his idol, a fellow Puerto Rican and legend Roberto Clemente.
So, now the Sox can finally have someone wearing number 21. Delgado can honor his idol while giving Clemens the screws.
Sounds like the perfect storm to me. I hope he does it.