The Yankees have reportedly asked MLB to stop issuing jersey numbers to managers and coaches with hopes of allowing players to select their desired uniform number, according to The Athletic.
New York has retired 22 numbers—the most in MLB—while also having another three not in use deliberately. Very few players want to have high numbers that would typically fall in the realm of what offensive tackles in the NFL or defensemen in hockey receive. The 25 numbers that are off the table combined with those being used by the team’s staff seriously limits the jersey numbers available for Yankees players.
Lou Cucuzza, Yankees director of clubhouse operations, brought the request to MLB’s senior vice president of on-field operations Michael Hill, saying it should no longer give uniform numbers to members of the club’s coaching staff. While the league has not made a change on its rule, it is gaining traction within many clubhouses across MLB, per the report.
Cucuzza has discussed the role with several equipment managers from various MLB clubs. He says the teams have been in consensus with a potential change to the rule. The next step in the process would likely be to formally bring the idea to the league at the upcoming winter meetings.
Yankees managers and coaches will wear their numbered jerseys when the team hosts the Giants at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day Thursday. However, Cucuzza says the team’s staff hardly ever wears their uniforms after the first game of the season.
“Nobody’s wearing the jerseys anymore,” Cucuzza told The Athletic. “They wear them because it’s Opening Day. They’ll wear them in the postseason during introductions. That’s really it. The coaches today are probably a lot different than the coaches of yesteryear.”