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Iglesias OK with spotlight of wearing No. 1 uniform

Iglesias OK with spotlight of wearing No. 1 uniform

Iglesias OK with spotlight of wearing No. 1 uniform

DETROIT -- If Jose Iglesias doesn't want to deal with all the buzz that donning uniform No. 1 comes with the Tigers, he can have manager Jim Leyland's number 10. Maybe. Someday, at least.

For the foreseeable future, however, Iglesias is wearing No. 1, the same number worn by the great Lou Whitaker. And that's fine with him.

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"To me, it doesn't really matter," Iglesias said Friday. "I mean, I like No. 1. I hear it's a special number, and I'm glad to have it."

Leyland was half-kidding when he talked about offering No. 10 to Iglesias during his pregame press session Friday afternoon. Iglesias wore No. 10 with the Red Sox.

Leyland isn't all that attached to it, even though it's the number he was worn for most of his managerial career. He wore No. 14 his first year managing the Pirates in 1986, a number he hated because his older brother wore that number playing football in high school. Leyland took No. 10 a year later after former Pittsburgh utilityman Mike Diaz changed numbers.

"I wore a lot of different numbers," Leyland said. "In fact, my first number in the big leagues was 28 [while coaching with the White Sox]. And we acquired Sparky Lyle, and I'm proud to say that he offered me $1,000 for No. 28. I said $2 might do it.

"I gave it to him. I didn't want no $1,000. Here, take the number. What do I care? I wore 11 in Florida."

It's not that easy these days. Because of merchandise sales and jersey productions, Major League Baseball requires advance notice when a player intends to change jersey numbers.

"There's a legal thing right now, licensing and everything," Leyland said. "People have done it, but it's a real sticky thing now because of jerseys that have been made up and are being sold and stuff like that."

In other words, it's more trouble than it's worth as long as Iglesias doesn't mind. Tigers fans might have to get adjusted, but they had to do the same when Gary Sheffield -- an established veteran who knows the history of the game -- joined the team in 2007 and asked for Alan Trammell's No. 3. Trammell said soon after that he had no problem with Sheffield wearing his old number.

"I guess he'll just have to wait until I'm gone," Leyland said.

For the record, just six numbers have been retired by the franchise: 2 for Charlie Gehringer, 5 for Hank Greenberg, 6 for Al Kaline, 11 for Sparky Anderson, 16 for Hal Newhouser and 23 for Willie Horton. Major League Baseball retired number 42 across all clubs in 1997 in honor of Jackie Robinson, though players who were wearing it at the time -- such as Mariano Rivera -- were allowed to keep doing so.

Jason Beck is a reporter for MLB.com. Read Beck's Blog and follow him on Twitter @beckjason. Bobby Nightengale is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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