Who wore ‘Number 0’ for the New York Yankees?

Yankees' pitcher Adam Ottavino wore Number 0 fro 2019 to 2020.
USA TODAY Sports
John Allen
Wednesday July 3, 2024

Table of Contents

Only four Yankees have ever donned the ‘Number 0’ jersey: Adam Ottavino (2019-2020), Jordy Mercer (2020), Domingo Germán (2023), and Marcus Stroman (2024).

Every Yankees Player Who Wore #0
Yankees Players Who Wore #0Season
1Adam Ottavino2019 and 2020
2Jordy Mercer2020
3Domingo Germán2023
4Marcus Stroman2024

The New York Yankees, renowned for their iconic jersey numbers, have a unique relationship with the ‘Number 0’. Although Major League Baseball only allowed the use of 0 starting in 1985, it has been sparingly adopted across the league, including by the Yankees.

While the Yankees have retired all single-digit uniform numbers from 1 to 9 in honor of legends like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Mickey Mantle, the ‘Number 0’ remained untouched by the team until recent years.

The rarity of the ‘Number 0’ extends into baseball terminology, where phrases like “nothing” or “oh” are often used instead of “zero” in scores, counts, and statistics.

History of Yankees’ Number 0

Yankees relief pitcher Adam Ottavino throws a pitch to the Orioles during the sixth inning at Yankee Stadium, Thursday, March 28, 2019, in New York.
AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Al Oliver, a .303 career hitter, was the first of 18 players to wear ‘Number 0’ in MLB, choosing it after his 1978 trade to the Texas Rangers, blending his first name, nickname, and former number. Oliver’s tenure with ‘Number 0’ saw multiple All-Star selections and a National League batting title.

Since then, players such as Yunel Escobar, Terrance Gore, Adam Ottavino, and Mallex Smith have worn ‘Number 0’. The ‘number 00’ has also been used, notably by Cliff Johnson when he and Oliver played together for the Toronto Blue Jays.

The Yankees‘ recent adoption of ‘Number 0′ signifies a gradual shift in baseball culture, as more players embrace this once-overlooked number. This change adds a new chapter to the Yankees’ storied jersey number history, connecting the team’s traditional reverence for single digits with modern player preferences.

The New York Yankees, famed for their retired single-digit jerseys, introduced the ‘Number 0’ jersey in 2019 with the signing of Adam Ottavino. Ottavino, who joined the team on a three-year, $27 million deal, became the first Yankee to don this number. He had an impressive debut season, recording a 1.90 ERA across 73 relief appearances.

In 2020, Ottavino briefly shared the number with Jordy Mercer, who was called up on August 28 but designated for assignment three days later. Ottavino’s stint with the Yankees concluded when he was traded on January 25, 2021.

The ‘Number 0’ jersey saw a new wearer in 2023 when Domingo Germán switched from his long-held number 55 to make way for newcomer Carlos Rodon. German, who had previously worn 55 since his 2018 debut, started the 2023 season on a high note, including a career-best 11 strikeouts against the Minnesota Twins on April 15.

However, Germán’s season took a downturn on May 16 when he was ejected for using an illegal substance during a game against the Toronto Blue Jays. He received a 10-game suspension and an undisclosed fine the next day. Germán chose not to appeal, insisting the substance was “just the rosin bag.”

Yankees starter Domingo German is pitching against the LA Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.
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The transition of the ‘Number 0′ jersey from Ottavino to Germán marks a new chapter in the Yankees’ uniform history, adding a fresh layer to their storied single-digit numbers.

Domingo Germán, donning the Yankees’ ‘Number 0’ jersey, made history on June 28, 2023, by pitching MLB’s 24th perfect game, the first since 2012. This remarkable feat was the Yankees’ fourth perfect game, setting a major league record for a single team.

German’s season, however, took a sharp turn on August 2, 2023, when he voluntarily entered treatment for alcohol abuse. The Yankees placed him on the restricted list, and General Manager Brian Cashman later confirmed that German would not return for the remainder of the 2023 season. Germán was subsequently removed from the 40-man roster and elected free agency on November 6.

Marcus Stroman starts his first Yankees game at Yankee Stadium on April 5, 2024.
NYY

The ‘Number 0’ jersey was passed on to Marcus Stroman, who signed a two-year, $37 million contract with the Yankees on January 17, 2024. By July 1, Stroman had posted impressive numbers, including a 3.29 ERA and 70 strikeouts over 95.2 innings.

The transition of the ‘Number 0’ jersey from Germán to Stroman highlights the ever-changing landscape of player careers and team rosters in Major League Baseball.

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