Actually, my wife chose that number for me. "21" was a number that I had worn a lot in my athletic days. I think that she based it on that. She arranged everything. What a wife, huh?
Everything was a big secret, right up until the time that I left. I had about a week to prepare this old body. If I ever go back, I'll definitely start preparing about 6 months beforehand. I'd love to go back, but the cost is a little prohibitive to do it very often. What a great time! I still remember my arm "barking" at me every time I made a throw, late in the week. (Doubleheaders every day are kinda rough on an "old" arm) I can remember my manager, Jim O'Toole coming to me and asking me if I could give him a few more innings late in the week. I remember winking at him and saying "Sure, I don't think I'll be throwing any next week." "Tootie" was great, and full of stories from his playing days.
When I kick back to watch opening day, you can bet that jersey will be on my back. I also received an authentic Reds jacket, and black mesh batting practice jersey, along with the "home pinstripes" and cap. We wore the black jerseys when we were the visiting team during the games.