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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Roy Oswalt and Cardinals number 44

As many National League fans already know, right-handed pitcher Roy Oswalt has worn the number 44 for his entire big-league career, which began with 9 ½ stellar seasons with the Houston Astros before a 2010 deadline trade to the Philadelphia Phillies.

If rumors that the 36-year-old is on the verge of signing with the St. Louis Cardinals for 2012 come to reality, the question will arise as to whether his favored uniform jersey number is available.

Fortunately, the answer appears to be “yes.”

New Cardinals and former Oswalt teammates Carlos Beltran (#3) and J.C. Romero (#16) have settled on different digits. And frankly, having Oswalt, a three-time All-Star and winner of 159 career games sporting those number 44 threads would represent a considerable upgrade from its deployment in recent years.

Last season, the Cardinals broke spring camp with non-roster invitee Miguel Batista donning the number 44. After the 40-year-old pitched himself off the team, the uni was passed on to another high-mileage veteran, outfielder Corey Patterson, one of the throw-ins in the Colby Rasmus deal. Patterson was so unimpressive that he was left off the post-season roster and is unsigned for 2012.

The year before, another outfielder in the twilight days of his playing career, Randy Winn, was assigned 44.

The most famous Cardinal to wear number 44 in recent years is also looking for a place to play in 2012. Of course, that is former closer Jason Isringhausen. The 39-year-old returned to MLB last season with the New York Mets after a year away but is again a free agent. Izzy pitched for St. Louis from 2002-2008 and is the club’s all-time leader in saves with 217.

When I think of number 44, however, my mind goes to “The Zamboni Machine,” Ken Reitz. The defensive specialist manned third base for the Cards while wearing the digits for two stints totaling eight years from 1972 through 1980.

For nine years during the 1960’s, pitcher Ray Washburn, winner of 68 games with St. Louis, donned number 44. Even current manager Mike Matheny wore 44 for a brief time in 2000 (see photo) before returning to his familiar 22.

Of course, until Oswalt’s deal is done, it isn’t, but it appears one minor potential problem will not occur.

Then, there is that issue of six starters for five jobs. That may become a job for number 22 to sort out in Jupiter, Fla. starting in just three weeks…

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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51 Responses to “Roy Oswalt and Cardinals number 44”

  1. Nutlaw says:

    I like that the Cardinals are going for the throat here, and these short term deals for veterans make all the sense in the world.

  2. blingboy says:

    We can pay Luhnow back for ditching us and raiding our front office by beating him to death with creaky former Astros.

  3. Brian Walton says:

    Even if Oswalt earns $6.5 million (for example, with incentives), consider this equation.

    Pujols @ $26 million = Beltran at $13M + Furcal at $6.5M + Oswalt at $6.5M

  4. Kansasbirdman says:

    Word is Selig is wanting to add a wild card to each league this year (ahead of schedule) but a problem might be fitting in the necessary games that might be needed at the end of the season.

    • Brian Walton says:

      When the new CBA was announced, MLB said they would decide by this March 1 whether the expanded playoffs would go into effect this year or next. It is only one game per league to accommodate the second wild card so I don’t see why scheduling should be a huge issue.

  5. JumboShrimp says:

    If these rumors come to pass, it will be an interesting story.

    But it could simply be a ploy by Oswalt’s agent to try to get more money out of another team.

    • T8Ball says:

      You hit the nail on the head. At least, that’s how I’m reading it.

      • JumboShrimp says:

        In due course, the truth will probably emerge. Right now, its a lot of rumors.

        I do not reject the possibility Mo wants to add Oswalt. It could happen.

        There is a rumor Oswalt turned down $10MM from the Tigers. Why would he sign with the Cards for $5MM? Maybe the Tigers blew their budget on Prince Fielder, so the $10MM is not there for Oswalt by late January. He is going to have to take a smaller offer.
        Oswalt’s agent insists he remains a starter. He is establishing this viewpoint in case there are later debates with a GM who wants to send Oswalt to the pen.
        Last winter, the Cards invested expensively in Westbrook. The reason emerged in spring training: Wainwright was injured. If the Cards want to add Oswalt, it may be that Mo suspects another starting pitcher may be unable to go.
        If we do add Oswalt, and if our other five starting pitchers are good to go, then Westbrook can move back to the pen or the Cards might trade another starting pitcher. Most players will waive a no trade clause, for cash.

        • JumboShrimp says:

          There are also rumors that the Cards have kicked the tires on Edwin Jackson, too. If this is true, this suggests the Cards DO want to add a veteran starting pitcher. This reinforces the idea we would sign Oswalt, if possible.

          Why would we want to add another starting pitcher? We have Wainwright, Carpenter, Garcia, Lohse, Westbrook, plus McClellan and Lynn, etc.

          We already have a lot of salary commitments for 2012. If we add Oswalt too, then Mo will have more reason to try to trade Lohse or Westbrook for salary shedding relief.

          Mo seems more aggressive in making certain kinds of moves than did Jocketty. Walt tends to be more of a bottom feeder for bargains and a believer in waste not, want not. Mo will tend to make more changes.

          • JumboShrimp says:

            One thing the Oswalt rumor tells us is both Oswalt and the Cards think they have a good team for 2012, despite Albert leaving. Oswalt will want to sign with a contender. The Cards want a contender too and think Oswalt can continue to win and help them.

  6. Jmodene says:

    The amusing thing about why Matheny had to wear #44 for a while in 2000 is because we had picked up Will Clark and *he* claimed #22 during his short time with us.

  7. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    There is a new strategy in play this year……….. Roy (rumors) = season ticket sales x dynamic pricing fears………… it is in these moments that they are calculating the effect of “plausible posturing”……. he wants to play here………. they know it…………. they started at 2.75……they are probably around double that now…..well behind the teams he doesn’t want to play for………… they know this game well now….they are profiting every moment this goes on ………….. I would think just the observable activity would qualify the investment……….if baseball was the objective ……

  8. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    Dumb…dumb and dumber………….. What is really stupid…….is the believe that the guys that pulled off what just happened with AP…….described by me….. for over a year……..isn’t able to game the system…..or haven’t planned to……… Roy hasn’t decided……….he has offers 4 to 5 million over the Cardinal offer………but he wants to join the boys club…………everyone can see how hungry we are to repeat…………….. people buy 15 thousand dollars worth of tickets impulsively… not? ……. they are profiting from there position……………… baseball logic has nothing to do with it……….. making money does………and they are going to make a bundle……the fewer available tickets per game drives the price higher…………every guy with a Red shirt wants to be one of the Cardinal “winners”……. to have it appear that he would jeopardize an 8 million dollar investment Westbrook to have a better (supposedly) team makes BD seem like a “wild and crazy” sports guy……….not a cold blooded killer……………… and whats best///////////I could give Sht…….. without AP..we are the best team in the division already……… I don’t want to see Roy in here……if anything the might off the Garcia contract ……. its the only out they have……how would you feel about that?????????

    • CariocaCardinal says:

      So the guy who told us that getting rid of AP was part of a plan to go cheap (and make more money) is now telling us that we may actually up the payroll to make more money. On top of that, he wants to imply that we might shed the only truly affordable starter we have as part of the process.

      If anyone has ever doubted Westie’s game of trying to predict all possible outcomes so that he can then risk hurting his arm patting himself on the back no matter what happens should look no further than the above post to see how he plays the game.

      Personally, I am still waiting on that $80 million payroll that is part of the great Cardinal strategic plan that Westie implied he was privie to.

      • crdswmn says:

        After two years of watching these exchanges, I must come to the conclusion that:

        1. You really don’t realize you are being played.

        2. You do realize it, but are getting your jollies doing this just like WC is.

        Care to share which?

        • CariocaCardinal says:

          Like the Cardinals, my strategies and objectives are secret. But rest assured, they are not about baseball……or are they?

          But here is a hint…..Like the movie JFK, the complaint was not that the movie wasn’t entertaining. It was the presentation of fiction as that of fact.

          • crdswmn says:

            Well, if you believe that WC presents fiction as fact (i.e. that WC actually believes what he posts) then #1 is the correct answer.

            • CariocaCardinal says:

              That is an illogical assumption. Just as I have no reason to believe Oliver Stone actually believed the story that he told in JFK, I have no reason to believe Westie believes his tales he presents here. On second thought, I do have some reason to believe he believes at least some of it. I’ve been in enough high powered board rooms to recognize a guy who thinks he is the smartest guy in the room and is screaming for others to acknowledge it (whether it is true or not).

        • CariocaCardinal says:

          I forgot to congratulate you on your set up of a false dichotomy there, neither of which states my position. Did they teach that in law school? Given you state that is the conclusion you have come to and your illogical conclusion you developed below, i am left to wonder if this is some sort of (poor) tactic on your part or you reasoning ability is out of practice.

  9. blingboy says:

    Channel 5 says Cards/Oswalt deal close-pending results of physical on his back.
    Lohse says don’t believe everything you hear.

    • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

      Where is this news BB?????????

      • blingboy says:

        Westie, I saw it on the newscast when I got home from work early this morning. Still nothing, though. Maybe Doctors don’t work on Sunday.

        I wonder if the leaked news that Roy meets with the Rangers Monday is meant to draw Mo’s last best offer.

        I also wonder if Mo treated Roy like a low hanging fruit and ‘insulted’ him.

        Think six man rotation.

  10. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    I’m into mid June……….watching Franklin struggle……….. nice guy………sad times……… he is pitching for an organization that is HUNGRY for a playoff birth………but its Tony that just keeps hanging on????thats what you were led to believe…….right?……….But suddenly Pujols is gone…maybe for 6 weeks………and the team suddenly comes alive………. Tony fights back against the 60 day DL designation…….and then…mysteriously…….the Colby pogrom begins, and its open warfare……………..

  11. JumboShrimp says:

    McClellan was slumping, so was Rasmus. Mo made a smart decision to replace McClellan with Jackson and Rasmus with Jay, leading to an 11th WS win and Mo won Executive of the Year. Neat the way it all worked out.

  12. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:


    Suffered martyrdom in
    Ethiopia ,
    killed by a sword wound

    Died in Alexandria , Egypt , after being dragged by
    horses through the streets until he was dead

    Was hanged in Greece as a result of his tremendous
    preaching to the lost.

    Faced martyrdom when he was boiled in huge basin of
    boiling oil during a wave of persecution in Rome .
    However, he was
    miraculously delivered from death. John was then
    sentenced to the mines on the prison island of Patmos .
    He wrote his prophetic
    Book of Revelation on Patmos . The apostle John was
    later freed and returned to serve as Bishop of Edessa in
    modern Turkey . He died as an old man, the only apostle
    to die peacefully.

    He was crucified upside down on an x-shaped cross.
    According to church tradition it was because he told his
    tormentors that he
    felt unworthy to die in the same way that Jesus Christ had died.


    Just The leader of the church in Jerusalem , was thrown
    over a hundred feet down from the southeast pinnacle
    of the Temple
    when he refused to deny his faith in Christ . When they
    discovered that he survived the fall, his enemies beat
    James to death with a fuller’s club.
    * This was the same pinnacle where Satan had taken
    Jesus during the Temptation.

    James the Great
    Son of Zebedee , was a fisherman by trade when Jesus
    called him to a lifetime of ministry. As a strong leader
    of the church, James was ultimately beheaded at Jerusalem .
    The Roman officer who guarded James watched amazed
    as James defended his faith at his trial. Later, the officer
    walked beside James to the place of execution. Overcome
    by conviction, he declared his new faith to the judge and
    knelt beside James to accept beheading as a Christian

    Also known as Nathaniel Was a missionary to Asia .
    He witnessed for our Lord in present day Turkey .
    Bartholomew was martyred for his preaching in Armenia
    where he was flayed to death by a whip.

    Was crucified on an x-shaped cross in Patras , Greece .
    After being whipped severely by seven soldiers they tied
    his body to
    the cross with cords to prolong his agony. His followers
    reported that, when he was led toward the cross, Andrew
    saluted it in these
    words: ‘I have long desired and expected this happy hour.
    The cross has been consecrated by the body of Christ
    hanging on it.’ He continued to preach to his tormentors
    for two days until he expired.

    Was stabbed with a spear in India during one of his
    missionary trips to establish the church in the sub-continent


    Was killed with arrows when he refused to deny his
    faith in Christ .

    The apostle chosen to replace the traitor Judas Iscariot,
    was stoned and then beheaded.


    Was tortured and then beheaded by the evil Emperor
    Nero at Rome in A.D. 67. Paul endured a lengthy imprisonment
    , which
    allowed him to write his many epistles to the churches he
    had formed throughout the Roman Empire . These letters,
    which taught many
    of the foundational doctrines of Christianity, form a large
    portion of the New Testament.

    Albert Pujols
    Gulp………went to the city of Angels……..where he ????????????????

    Tough gig………………………..

  13. blingboy says:

    I guess ‘shopping’ McClellan means finding somebody to take the $2.5 and not expect us to take some payroll back.

    Surely that doesn’t have to coincide with signing a starter. Once ST is underway teams will have pitchers go down and there will be more demand. The danger with waiting is if he sucks, then we’re stuck.

  14. JumboShrimp says:

    Its strange whats going on with the Cubs. They paid the Marlins a lot of money to be rid of Carlos Zambrano. Aramis Ramirez left. And they have signed LHP Trever Miller (released 3 times during 2011 by Cards, Jays, and Red Sox); Joe Mather (Cards prospect whose promise was hampered by a hamate injury); and AAA IF Edgar Martinez, among others. A dumpster dive. The Cubs may struggle in 2012.

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