When it comes to jersey numbers most athletes feel a very strong attachment. Usually whatever number an athlete wears has some sort of sentimental value, or it defines them in some type of way. Throughout both of their respective careers, Cardinals new right fielder Jason Heyward and Cards coach Mike Matheny have worn the number 22. This number has represented more than just baseball for both of these men and it has played an integral component in both of their lives.
Heyward wears the number 22 in honor of his friend and high school teammate, Andrew Wilmot, who died in an automobile accident in 2007. He has also been wearing 22 since the outset of his Major League career. Matheny wore the number 22 throughout his thirteen year Major League career and has continued to wear it as a manager. He created a foundation called “Catch Twenty-Two“, which has built handicap accessible baseball fields in multiple Saint Louis area cities and is based off of his position and number. When Matheny offered the number 22 to Heyward this past week it spoke to his character as well as his leadership qualities. There was no better way to make Jason Heyward feel welcomed and cared about by the Cardinal’s community than Matheny’s donning of the symbolic number. It was great to see “The Toughest Man Alive” (Matheny’s nickname in his playing days) make a sacrifice for what he knows is the greater good. When asked about why he decided to give up his precious number for Heyward, Matheny responded with the sincere statement, “knowing the reason why Jason uses that number, it’s really easy for me”.