It was reported by Denver Post beat writer Troy Renck today that Colorado Rockies reliever Adam Ottavino will switch from uniform number 37 to 0 this season. The switch is notable as only 12 other major leaguers in history have worn the number, including Cuban defector Rey Ordonez and Oscar Gamble, who arguably had the best hair-do in baseball history. As Renck writes, Ottavino has a history of wearing the number, which he selected to echo the "O" initial in his name, a fairly common story among those who have worn the number.
Uniform numbers, first experimented with in Major League Baseball by the 1916 Cleveland Indians, have become a part of the texture of the game: player superstitions often revolve around them, sometimes at great expense, clubs retire them, and everyone in baseball wears the same one on one day in April to honor history. So how has this tradition translated to the Rockies?
A brief survey based on records at Baseball Reference returns a lot that should be expected - position players dominate the single-digit jerseys, while pitchers trend toward the higher numbers, with most falling above 20. Numbers above 60 tend to have been worn by bit players or September call-ups (with a few notable exceptions).
There have been more interesting number selections, though. Former Rockies pitcher Alex White wore 6, so unusual for a pitcher that it gets a callout on the Wikipedia page about uniform numbers. By contrast, former Rockies utility man Alfredo Amezaga donned 99 in 2011, which is an eye-catchingly high number in its own right. Rockies closer Rafael Betancourt has worn 63 for his entire major league career. Finally, former relief pitcher Joe Beimel wore 97 from 2005 to 2011 (2009 to 2010 with the Rockies), a number no other major leaguer has worn, only adding to his legend.
To date, there have been no Rockies designated 00. Unfortunate, if you consider the impact such a figure might have if added to the pitching staff.