Derrick Goold reports that the Cardinals have issued number 32 to a player for the first time since 2007. The player who has it: catcher Rob Johnson. The last player to wear it: Josh Hancock, who was killed in an auto accident in April of that year.
Hancock, you’ll recall, was intoxicated, texting and driving 68 miles per hour when he smashed his SUV into the back of a parked flatbed tow truck. The Cardinals had not retired his number or anything, but they hadn’t issued it. It had been available to other players if they wanted it before Johnson took it, but no one did, making it for something of an awkward memorial.
As Goold notes, though, the Cardinals have so many numbers either retired or currently not in circulation because they may be retired one day, it was inevitable that someone was going to wear 32 again.
Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.
The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.