Sunday, February 5, 2023


the dodgers dropped some big news yesterday as part of their fanfest celebrations - the franchise will officially retire fernando valenzuela's number in a ceremony during the 2023 season! this is great news for fans like me that felt the dodgers should relax their tradition of only retiring numbers of hall of famers (with the lone exception of jim gilliam) for iconic franchise players like fernando. the truth is, fernando's number 34 has been unofficially retired since he was released by the club just prior to the 1991 season - no player or coach has worn the number since. this will make it official and we will see number 34 up on the facade of the stadium along with the other numbers and microphones.

his number 34 is one of the few numbers that was in use by a player on the 1977 and/or 1978 dodger team (lee lacy) that i do not associate with that player. for example, i still think of jerry grote as #9 rather than mickey hatcher (in his second dodger stint) and rick monday as #16 instead of andre ethier or will smith, but 34 is fernando.

here is the newest fernando card to enter my collection:
it's a 1987 hostess card/sticker that i had no idea existed until i stumbled on an ebay listing. it brought me to 247 (245 unique) fernando dodger cards, according to tcdb. that puts fernando at number 21 on my "top names" list and number 5 among all collectors, although i have a few more of his cards (non-dodger variety) in a couple of mini-collections that i haven't entered in to tcdb.

here's a card that shows his number a bit better, from 2002 topps archives reserve

a few years ago, i culled my player collections to just consist of steve garvey, vladimir guerrero, jimmie hall, and the post-dodger cards of the other starting 8 from the 1977 dodgers. shawn green, steve sax and fernando were the last to be cut, but i've since thought about reinstating fernando. in fact, i mentioned it in a post a while back, and even talked about it with fuji when he and i met up in san jose recently.  well, this number retirement news has helped me make the decision to add fernando to my list of player collections.

unfortunately, i traded away many of his cards to oriole, phillie, padre, and cardinal collectors over the past few years so i don't have many in hand. i do have a few, including this 1995 upper deck electric diamond parallel
and this 1996 pacific crown collection card
plus a few more.

my want list is up, but i haven't finished going through all of my monster boxes of cards that may yield a few more from my past pc. still, i am looking for help! you will be rewarded!

fernando was inducted in to the "legends of dodger baseball" a few years ago, which seemed to me to be the franchise's way of recognizing a tier of player that wasn't going to get to cooperstown and therefore have their number retired. this announcement has me thinking that some other members of that group, such as maury wills
don newcombe
and steve garvey
might join the likes of roy campanella
with their numbers retired, too.

and then there was manny mota, who seemed like someone who could follow the gilliam rule as a longtime dodger player and coach, but they were quick to redistribute his number 11 after he finally retired. i figured if they didn't do it for mota, they probably weren't going to do it for anyone else. i am glad i was wrong.

viva fernandomania!


  1. That's awesome news! Looks like it's gonna happen in August... which is right around the time I might head down to LA and hit up a Dodger game.

  2. Fernandomania--the Dodgers version of the Lakers' Showtime, good times! I feel so lucky that I spotted Fernando on the club/pressbox level one night at Dodger Stadium and got to take a picture with him. Whenever you guys are in town, plmk. Would love to go to a game with you guys. The Dodgers are playing the A's August 1-3. The Dodgers are also honoring Fernando with special promotion night August 11-13 vs. Colorado.

    1. i literally bumped into fernando in the concourse at dodger stadium back in 1982 or 1983. i was looking at mike scioscia at the time - both players were being escorted to a signing table i believe - back when players signed before sunday games at various spots around the stadium.

  3. Glad to see the Dodgers aren't letting someone else decide whose numbers get retired. Fernando was a special phenomenon.

  4. A very deserving number retirement. I can't imagine many players have meant more to their city than Fernando did to L.A.

  5. Hostess put out a lot of neat cards in the late 80's.