January 3, 2012
Yu Darvish to Get Ultimate Honor
Alright, this is kinda cool.
Instead of retiring numbers of their stars players like most teams do here in the States...Japanese teams go the other way.
According to NPB Tracker, Japanese clubs traditionally assign a number (usually 18) to their top pitcher. This is their "ace number". I did not know this. Did you?
Here's the skinny.
Apparently, only one Japanese club has assigned the number 18 to a non-pitcher. You'll remember that when Hideo Nomo, Hiroki Kuraoda and Daisuke Matsuzaka came over from Japan they all wore 18.
That said, future Texas Rangers ace Yu Darvish wore the number 11 while with the Nippon Ham Fighters...and this is where it gets cool. The Fighters are planning on bucking the trend and making his 11 their new “ace number” as a way to honor his short, but legendary career.
The number will remain out of circulation until the team can develop another “absolute, Darvish-caliber ace.”
As for what number Darvish will wear when he hits the Arlington...who knows? Number 11 is currently on the back of hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh.