The Bronx is mourning this week, as the Yanks have lost announcer Bob Sheppard and owner George Steinbrenner. But amid all the memories and eulogies, a practical consideration will have to be dealt with: How will the team memorialize these two men on the Bronx Bombers' uniforms?
According to an article that ran on Monday -- before Steinbrenner's passing -- there had already been talk that Sheppard's uniform memorial would be "more than the usual black armband" and might involve a patch depicting a microphone. But those plans will probably change now, since the Yanks obviously can't have Sheppard's remembrance outshining Steinbrenner's.
That's the tricky thing about multiple uniform memorials -- you want to pay proper respect to each person, but you also want the visual gestures to be proportional to the deceased figures' statuses with the team. The last time a team had to deal with this kind of balancing act was in February of 2009, when Johnny "Red" Kerr and Norm Van Lier -- both important members of the Chicago Bulls' family -- died on the same day. The Bulls responded by coming up with one patch design to memorialize both men.
The last time the Yankees faced a dual-memorial situation was in 2007. Pitcher Cory Lidle had died just after the end of the '06 season, so the team wore a black armband for him in '07. Then Phil Rizzuto died in August of that season, so a black "10" was added above the armband.
A similar situation unfolded in 1999, but in reverse. Joe DiMaggio had passed away in March of that year, so the Yanks added a black "5" sleeve patch. Then, in September, came the death of Catfish Hunter -- a great pitcher, but clearly not on the same level in Yankees lore as Joe D. -- so the Yanks honored him by adding a black armband.
But how have other ballclubs handled multiple memorials? Here's a partial breakdown: