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Name, Rank & Player Number

Cliff Lee's return to Philly has brought joy to the fan base. And...a little bit of a problem with his jersey. Specifically...his "new" player number.

It's fairly common for players to change numbers in team sports (particularly ones with free agency). But it's very, very unusual for top shelf players to RETURN to a team that they'd previously played for, as is the case with the Phils and Cliff Lee.

For those who don't know: He was, for the latter half of the 2009 season (and playoffs) a Phillie. Before being traded to the Seattle Mariners. And then the Texas Rangers. But you don't need to be reading about this stuff here. Just 1) Awake from your coma and 2) Turn on the tube. Either "You" version or the old school "boob" style will work fine).

"Thank God I didn't throw out my Cliff Lee T-shirt!"

That's exactly what my wife said to me yesterday. And my initial reaction was...
"Hey yeah, that is pretty cool".


Turns out that, while the name is the same, Lee's number has switcherooed. Seems that, in the brief time --in baseball years-- that has elapsed since his departure, a fella by the name of Roy Halladay has been acquired by the Phils. And you guessed it: Roy wears number 34. Cliff's OLD number. So, Cliff Lee will keep his "old" Texas Rangers # 33.

FYI: He was # 36 in Seattle & # 31 in Cleveland for the record...and the numerous (HA!) player number geeks who troll herein!

So now....the fan conundrum: Is it A-OK to wear the old (wrong # 34) Cliff Lee jersey? Must my wife upgrade to the new # 33? Or are the # 33 Lee jerseys wearers band wagoners?

The Phillies have bet heavy on the proposition that my wife (and lots of her "Lee Lovin'" ilk) will shovel over new cash for a # 33 jersey.

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