I ask that based on this from Nick Cafardo’s Sunday column:
A few readers pointed this out: the Red Sox wouldn’t give No. 21 to Rick Porcello out of respect to Roger Clemens, who is not in the Hall of Fame yet because of steroid allegations. But No. 26 is given to anyone, and Wade Boggs is in the Hall of Fame wearing a Red Sox cap..
I can’t find an actual news story which says “the Red Sox wouldn’t give” Porcello number 21. Or, for that matter, one which says what number he will actually wear. He did not have a jersey-wearing moment at his introductory press conference so we didn’t see. If they announced it otherwise, I missed it.
But even if he’s not wearing 21, it’s possible that that was his choice, not some honor given to Clemens. Porcello only wore 21 for a couple of seasons in Detroit, switching to it only after he let Torii Hunter wear the 48 that he had worn the previous few seasons. It’s not like 21 has some deep meaning to Porcello. Maybe he doesn’t want it.
If, however, the Red Sox have retired Clemens’ number on a defacto basis — no one has worn it for them since Clemens did in 1996 — it is at least mildly eyebrow-raising. As Cafardo notes, Boggs’ number 26 has been worn by many people, most recently Brock Holt. Last year Boggs himself publicly beefed about it not being retired. As I noted in the post at the time, there are maybe some reasons for that, however provincial they are, but it still is pretty lame that the Sox have not retired it.