BEFORE coming to
the Twins from Toronto in 2003, Stewart had number 24--which he wore in high
school to emulate two stars. " Ken Griffey Jr. and Rickey Henderson (left)
were my favorite players," says Stewart. "I could run like Rickey, and
I wished I could hit homers like Griffey." In Minnesota catcher Matt LeCroy
had the number, and, Stewart says, he wanted a car to give it up. "We were
going to negotiate," Stewart recalls. Then Stew had a two-hit and a
three-hit game and decided he didn't need the number. "[ LeCroy] messed
up," he says. "Number 23 has been good to me."
AS ARIZONA battles
the Astros (and a half-dozen other teams) in the NL wild-card race, Melvin has
his rival's number. He wears number 3 for Astros manager Phil Garner, who, as
the Brewers' manager in the mid-1990s, gave Melvin his start in a postplaying
career. "I made a phone call to him, and he got me a job scouting,"
says Melvin, who would later become Garner's bench coach. "He's a man I
admire a lot and have learned a lot from." Melvin says his choice of number
was "a no-brainer," but he isn't sure if his mentor knows why he wears
it. Well, Phil, read it and preen.
star Don Mattingly--who wore number 23--as an idol was frowned upon when
Teixeira was a kid in Baltimore. "I'd wear a Mattingly shirt to [ Orioles]
games," says Teixeira, who endured epithets from O's fans. When he played,
some thought the 23 was for Michael Jordan, but Teixeira was all about
Mattingly. "I just loved the way he played, I loved his swing," says
Texeira, who won a Gold Glove last year and has met his boyhood hero.
"We've had lunch. [Mattingly] knows pretty well how I think of