New York Yankees first baseman Luke Voit wore No. 45 with pride but needs some new digits with Gerrit Cole coming to town.
I’m going to wear #59 to honor my brother! It was his college football number at West Point while he was the captain of the football team!
— Luke Voit (@LLVIII40) December 18, 2019
Voit had worn 45 ever since joining the Yankees in 2018 and enjoyed his first full season in New York last season. A sports hernia limited him to 118 games, but he hit a respectable .263 with 21 home runs and 62 RBIs. Due to slumping near the end of the season, he did not appear in any playoff games.
Now, however, 45 belongs to Gerrit Cole and his $324 million free-agent contract. Cole mentioned in an interview with YES Network that Voit didn’t necessarily give the number away, but here we are now. No disrespect to Voit, but he hasn’t exactly built up enough equity to demand No. 45 be his and his alone.
The last Yankees player to wear No. 59 was outfielder Juan Rivera in 2002 and 2003. Per Baseball Almanac, no major Yankees of note have otherwise donned the number.
This gives Voit a key opportunity. He’ll likely need to compete for the starting first baseman’s job with Mike Ford in Spring Training. What better way to start with his new number than raking in the spring and carrying it into the regular season?
The point is Luke Voit, despite losing his original number, is in a position to bring some glory to a seldom-used Yankee number. Thus, here’s hoping Voit can stay healthy in 2020 and truly make No. 59 his own legacy.