Wednesday, August 8, 2007


For years 714 was a special number. The badge number on Dragnet? 714. Not because it was a local area code: Jack Webb was a Babe Ruth fan. 7/14 or July 14th is Bastille Day – the French connection to baseball. Alas 714 was also the number of bridges slated for replacement by the Minnesota DOT on a bill that was vetoed by the governor before the recent collapse.

Then 755 became the new special number – for 33 years. There were 755 POWs from the Vietnam War. And – I love this one – last year there were 755 known Potentially Hazardous Asteroids.

Some other numbers may not be well known but may be just as special. Hector Espino played his entire career in the minors, but still hit 484 home runs. Sadaharu Oh hit 868 homers. And Negro Leaguer Josh Gibson hit 962 (although the Hall of Fame says Gibson hit – quote - almost 800 home runs.

Now every time that Barry Bonds hits a homer baseball will have a new special number. No one knows what the final special number will be when Bonds retires but it probably won’t be a special number for long: Alex Rodriguez is on track to break Bonds record, whatever it turns out to be, probably in 2014. So what will Alex’s special number be when he retires? I bet it’ll be 875 – that’s how many Potentially Hazardous Asteroids there were yesterday.

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