BEFORE coming tothe Twins from Toronto in 2003, Stewart had number 24--which he wore in highschool to emulate two stars. "Ken Griffey Jr. and Rickey Henderson (left)were my favorite players," says Stewart. "I could run like Rickey, andI wished I could hit homers like Griffey." In Minnesota catcher Matt LeCroyhad the number, and, Stewart says, he wanted a car to give it up. "We weregoing to negotiate," Stewart recalls. Then Stew had a two-hit and athree-hit game and decided he didn't need the number. "[LeCroy] messedup," he says. "Number 23 has been good to me."
AS ARIZONA battlesthe Astros (and a half-dozen other teams) in the NL wild-card race, Melvin hashis rival's number. He wears number 3 for Astros manager Phil Garner, who, asthe Brewers' manager in the mid-1990s, gave Melvin his start in a postplayingcareer. "I made a phone call to him, and he got me a job scouting,"says Melvin, who would later become Garner's bench coach. "He's a man Iadmire a lot and have learned a lot from." Melvin says his choice of numberwas "a no-brainer," but he isn't sure if his mentor knows why he wearsit. Well, Phil, read it and preen.
HAVING Yankeesstar Don Mattingly--who wore number 23--as an idol was frowned upon whenTeixeira was a kid in Baltimore. "I'd wear a Mattingly shirt to [Orioles]games," says Teixeira, who endured epithets from O's fans. When he played,some thought the 23 was for Michael Jordan, but Teixeira was all aboutMattingly. "I just loved the way he played, I loved his swing," saysTexeira, who won a Gold Glove last year and has met his boyhood hero."We've had lunch. [Mattingly] knows pretty well how I think ofhim."