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Behind the numbers: Stories of how these Pittsburgh Pirates got their jersey number

When it came down to picking a jersey number, Christopher Bostick gave himself a daily reminder of where his professional baseball career began.

Bostick chose No. 44, because he wasn’t a prized first-round prospect. Rather, Bostick was taken in the 44th round of the 2011 Major League Baseball draft by the Oakland A’s.

“It’s kind of a reminder to me every time I show up that there’s a lot of other people that do things better than me, but I need to work hard and need to prove myself every day,” said Bostick, who made his MLB debut with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2017.

Not every player gets to select their jersey number. Every organization is different, too.

The Pirates, who beat the Atlanta Braves 12-9 on Friday at LECOM Park and have called Bradenton their spring training home for the past 50 years, have players who either picked their jersey number or were assigned one.

Pirates-Kuhl
Chad Kuhl John Raoux AP

For pitchers Steven Brault and Chad Kuhl, they were each given one.

The Pirates issued No. 39 to Kuhl, and he was hesitant about donning that digit at first.

“I felt bad taking 39 because of Dave Parker,” Kuhl said.

Parker, a former National League Most Valuable Player and 1979 World Series winner with the Pirates, played his first 11 big-league seasons in Pittsburgh.

“I tried to change it, but they said it was too late to change it,” Kuhl said. “So I was like, ‘All right.’ ”

Brault, whose locker is next to Kuhl’s, referenced Parker’s “Cobra” nickname in quipping: “You are the new Cobra. You’re the Asp. No, you’re not very scary. You’re the garden snake.”

Kuhl joked right back, “That’s not very nice.”

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Steven Brault John Raoux AP

Meanwhile, Brault, who wears No. 43, said he liked single-digit numbers.

But pitchers, unless they’re established, don’t do single-digit numbers.

“I need to get some cred first,” Brault said.

Kuhl joked Brault would look good as a No. 3.

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Trevor Williams John Raoux AP

On a serious level, pitcher Trevor Williams changed his number in the offseason from No. 57 to No. 34 to honor a former Arizona State University roommate, teammate and close friend Cory Hahn.

Hahn suffered a career-ending spinal cord injury and wore No. 34.

Other players such as outfielder Jordan Luplow and infielder Colin Moran also were given their numbers with the Pirates.

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Jordan Luplow John Raoux AP

Luplow, who was assigned No. 47, said he just ran with the number.

The Bucs assigned No. 19 to Moran after acquiring the third baseman as part of January’s trade with the Houston Astros that involved right-handed pitcher Gerrit Cole leaving Pittsburgh.

Moran said he’s good with any number that isn’t crazy, such as No. 99 or something similar.

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Colin Moran John Minchillo AP

Then there’s Bostick, who chose his number for its personal meaning.

“It’s easy to forget how much of a privilege it is to be doing this and to have this opportunity,” Bostick said.

Up next

Who: Minnesota Twins vs. Pittsburgh Pirates

When: Saturday, 1:05 p.m.

Where: LECOM Park, Bradenton

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