Are Philly Fans Already Peeved at Pedro?

Are Philly Fans Already Peeved at Pedro? Leave it to Pedro Martinez to ruffle some feathers almost immediately upon arrival in Philadelphia.

See, at the news conference announcing his signing, Pedro posed with a Phillies jersey with the No. 45 on it.

Makes sense, right? Pedro has historically worn 45 and it's not retired by his new team.

So what's the issue? Where's the controversy?

Well, as it turns out, No. 45 was worn by former Phils relief pitcher Tug McGraw (father of country star Tim McGraw), whose leap in the air to celebrate the final out of the 1980 World Series (the franchise's only title prior to winning again last year) remains an iconic image in Phillies lore. It's made worse by the fact that McGraw, a legit legend in hard-core Philly sports history, died in 2004 after a nine-month battle with an inoperable brain tumor.

Some Phillies fans thought No. 45 was actually already retired in Tugger's honor, but the team doesn't retire the numbers of non-Hall of Famers. Others aren't all that keen on Pedro donning the number when he's called up to the majors.

Problem: Greg Jelks, Dave Palmer, Terry Mulholland, Tom Edens, Mike Mimbs, Danny Tartabull, Yorkis Perez, Jeff Brantley, Chris Brock, and Tom Gordon have already worn No. 45 since McGraw left the Phillies in 1984. Even more staggering, bench coach Pete Mackanin has been wearing No. 45 this season, only agreeing to give it up when Pedro makes his return to the bigs.

OK, let's be honest: Pedro wants no part of tarnishing the memory of Tug McGraw. He just wants his number.

And Philly fans, you can be honest, too: You don't want Pedro and his antics sullying the jersey number one of your franchise's favorites wore while winning a world championship.

Phillies spokesman Scott Palmer said this week that, "Tug would have likely loved a fun-loving, hard-thrower like Pedro wearing his No. 45."

And hey, imagine if Pedro plays any part in keeping the Phillies' winning ways going this season. Something tells me Philly fans just might be OK with ole No. 45 being back in circulation.

Yardbarker

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