One of my readers sent me an interesting e-mail the other day. The e-mailer is a 59-year old Pentecostal Pastor that has been a huge Pirates fan for over 50 years, which is impressive.
The subject of his e-mail was about the jersey number 24 (which the hated Barry Bonds wore in his time with the Pirates), and how it has possibly cursed Pedro Alvarez. As you know, Alvarez wore number 17 in his first half-year with the Pirates, and he was very successful in that half-year. However, he switched to number 24 for last year and was horrid. Here’s some highlights from the e-mail:
“As 52 year+ fan I’ve seen great baseball and players who wore Black & Gold with honor and distinction. 2 World Championships, numerous division titles, and of course 19 consecutive losing seasons. I REALLY BELIEVE A CONCERTED EFFORT SHOULD BE UNDERTAKEN BY THE PIRATE FANS IN ORDER THAT ALL ALVAREZ JERSEY’S NUMBER 24 BE DESTROYED BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY UNTIL A SEASON ABOVE .500 CAN BE ACHIEVED. IF PEDRO WEARS 24 IN 2012 I BELIEVE THE STATS WILL SUPPORT MY CLAIM OF A BETTER AVERAGE, HOMERS, ON-BASE PERCENTAGE AND ANY OTHER STAT YOU CAN NAME WHILE WEARING NUMBER 17.”
He got really passionate with the caps-lock key there, and I apologize for that.
E-mailer has somewhat of a point. The player that immediately comes to mind that kind of disproves e-mailers point is Brian Giles, who hit .308/.426/.591 with 165 home runs in his 4+ season with the Pirates.
However, aside from Giles, the Pirates number 24′s have not been good. Here’s a list of all players who have worn #24 for the Pirates since Barry Bonds dawned it.
Pedro Alvarez, Delwyn Young, Tom Gorzelanny, Ruben Mateo, Brian Giles, Zane Smith, and Dennis Moeller.
Gorzelanny wasn’t a terrible pitcher, but certainly never helped the Pirates too much. He wore the number for three years.
Delwyn Young hit the first home run ever off of Steven Strasburg, which may turn out to be an accomplishment in itself. However, Young was nothing more than an average bat off the bench in his time with the Pirates.
I certainly don’t believe in curses or anything like that, and I am not encouraging anybody to go out and destroy jerseys that they spent good money on. Regardless, it was an interesting e-mail and it provides an outlet to blame for the Pirates constant struggles, which is always nice.