Why does Anthony Rizzo wear the number 44 for the New York Yankees? There are a few reasons. First, 44 was Rizzo’s number with the Cubs. Second, Rizzo is a big fan of Yankees legend Yogi Berra. And finally, Rizzo wants to honor Mariano Rivera, the greatest closer of all time.
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Early Life and Career
Anthony Rizzo was born on September 22, 1989, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His father, John, was a fireman, and his mother, Laurie, was a schoolteacher. Rizzo was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer, at the age of 18, but he successfully fought it and went on to play professional baseball. Rizzo began his career with the Boston Red Sox in 2011.
Anthony Rizzo’s early life
Anthony Rizzo was born on September 22, 1989, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His father, John, was a sergeant in the police force, and his mother, Laurie, was a schoolteacher. Rizzo has two younger sisters, Nicole and Alicia. He is of Italian descent. His grandfather, Tony Rizzo Sr., played Minor League Baseball for the Cleveland Indians organization.
Rizzo attended Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. He played shortstop and pitched for the school’s baseball team. As a senior in 2007, he had a .526 batting average with 13 home runs and 38 runs batted in (RBIs). He was named to the All-Broward County team and the Sun-Sentinel Broward County Player of the Year.
Anthony Rizzo’s career
Anthony Rizzo was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the sixth round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Draft. He was traded to the San Diego Padres, along with three other prospects, in exchange for All-Star first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. Rizzo made his major league debut on September 1, 2011, against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Rizzo was traded to the Chicago Cubs on January 6, 2012, in a four-player deal that sent right-handed pitcher Andrew Cashner to the Padres. In his first season with the Cubs, Rizzo played in 87 games and batted .285 with 15 home runs and 48 RBIs. The following season, he played in 149 games and batted .233 with 12 home runs and 32 RBIs.
Rizzo broke out in 2014, his third season with the Cubs. He played in 160 games and batted .286 with 32 home runs and 94 RBIs. He was named to his first National League All-Star team and won a Silver Slugger Award. The following season, he played in 157 games and batted .278 with 31 home runs and 101 RBIs. He was named to his second straight National League All-Star team and won his second Silver Slugger Award.
The Number 44
Wearing the number 44 for the New York Yankees, first baseman Anthony Rizzo has a long history with the number. Rizzo has said that he wears the number in honor of his childhood hero, Yankees great Bernie Williams. He also wears it to pay tribute to two other Yankees legends: Ron Blomberg and Goose Gossage.
The meaning of the number 44
When Rizzo was traded to the Yankees in December, he had to give up his usual No. 44 — which, of course, is retired for Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson. Rizzo asked for, and was given, Jackson’s blessing to wear No. 44 in New York.
“I talked to Mr. October the other day,” Rizzo said on a conference call. “He was all for it. He said, ‘Wear it with pride.'”
Rizzo has worn No. 44 since he was 12 years old, when he started playing travel ball. His father, John, gave him the number because it was his old softball number. When Anthony got to high school, he wanted to change his number to fit in with his new teammates, but his father wouldn’t let him — so he had to stick with 44.
“It’s definitely ironic how everything happens,” Rizzo said of now being able to wear No. 44 with the Yankees. “I’m excited about it.”
Why Anthony Rizzo wears the number 44
When the Yankees acquired Anthony Rizzo in a trade with the Padres back in 2015, they didn’t just get a quality first baseman. They also got one of the most interesting stories in baseball.
Rizzo was born and raised in Boston, and he grew up idolizing Yankees great Don Mattingly. So when he had the opportunity to wear Mattingly’s famed number 23 with the Yankees, he jumped at the chance.
But Rizzo’s time with the Yankees was short-lived. After just one season, he was traded to the Cubs, where he has become one of the best first baseman in baseball. And while he has worn other numbers with the Cubs (he currently wears number 44), he will always be associated with number 23.
Rizzo wears number 44 in honor of his good friend, David Ross, who also wore that number during his time with the Cubs. Ross is now a broadcaster for ESPN, but he will always be remembered for his contribution to the Cubs’ 2016 World Series title.
The New York Yankees
The New York Yankees are one of the most storied franchises in all of sports. They have won 27 World Series championships, and 40 American League pennants. The Yankees have also produced some of the greatest players to ever play the game. Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Derek Jeter are just a few of the legends that have donned the famous pinstripes.
Anthony Rizzo’s new team
Anthony Rizzo is a professional baseball first baseman who currently plays for the New York Yankees. He has worn the number 44 throughout his career in honor of his childhood hero, Yankees legend Yogi Berra.
What the future holds for Anthony Rizzo
It is safe to say that the Yankees have found their first baseman of the future in Anthony Rizzo. The 28-year-old was acquired from the Cubs in a trade for pitcher Sonny Gray and two minor leaguers last July and quickly made an impact in New York. Rizzo appeared in 46 games for the Yankees, batting .263 with six home runs and 17 RBIs. He also played a key role in the team’s run to the American League Championship Series, hitting two homers and driving in five runs in 11 postseason contests.
With Rizzo under contract through 2022, the Yankees have stability at first base for years to come. And given his production and leadership ability, it is likely that Rizzo will play an even bigger role on the team in the years to come.