Wild Thing: Manny To Wear #99 For The Dodgers

Since fleeing from the Red Sox to the Dodgers yesterday, Manny Ramirez has a lot of decisions to make about joining his new team. But most important of all, he needs to pick a jersey number for his new L.A. duds.

Manny Ramirez hands on head

He can’t use 24 like he did in Boston, since the Dodgers retired it for Walter Alston. And he can’t use the inversed 42, since the entire league retired it for Jackie Robinson.

So the slugger might try to get as high as he can - and select #99.

YAHOO’s BIG LEAGUE STEW overheard it during this morning’s edition of ESPN’s “First Take”. However, there’s also some debate that Ramirez will opt for #28. Either way, the world will learn the final answer when Manny gives a press conference tonight at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. (The Dodgers have been kind enough to live stream the conference here.)

We’re banking on 99 - it would be so Manny of Manny to grab such a stand-out uniform numeral. (But the California Highway Patrol better be on the lookout for increased incidences of highway sign theft.)

In addition to such sports superstars as Wayne Gretzky, Mitch Williams, and Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, Manny would also join the honored list of other famous double-niners, like

• Agent 99 from “Get Smart“.

• Nena’s 80s German hit “99 Luftballons“.

• The car trip sing-a-long “99 Bottles of Beer On The Wall“.

• Thrifty retailer 99-Cent Stores.

The marketing opportunities are endless!

Concerning the other folks bartered in the Manny trade, FENWAY WEST wondered what number Jason Bay would choose as the newest member of the Red Sox. The 38 he wore with Pittsburgh is currently on the back of Curt Schilling. So Bay went with 44.

As for the four minor leaguers sent to the Steel City, they’d be happy to wear any major league number - even if it’s with the Pirates.

*UPDATE*: During his presser, Manny confirmed that he’ll be wearing 99, but it wasn’t his first choice: “I don’t know why they gave me 99. I wanted to get 30, but I will stay with 99.”

He shared the story of how when he an 8 year old in the Dominican Republic, his grandmother came back from a trip to the United States and gave him his first baseball jersey - a Dodgers uniform with the number 30.

Maybe Manny can work out a deal with Casey Blake.