Something has to give when a respected veteran major league player is traded to a team and the uniform number he has worn for 16 years is already on the back on one of his new teammates. Usually it ends up costing the new acquisition a nice dinner or maybe even a new car.
What happened when former Los Angeles Angels outfielder Torii Hunter called his new teammate Rick Porcello last week to tell him he wanted the Detroit Tigers pitcher's No. 48 probably cost more than a new pickup truck, but — besides the cherished number —paid back in good karma and helped people in need.
In a gesture, that has to go down as one of the best-intentioned number-swapping stories in MLB, Porcello readily agreed to giving up his number under the condition that Hunter — who wore the number since coming up with the Twins — donate money to relief from Hurricane Sandy.
Porcello — a homegrown New Jersey baseball star at Seton Hall Prep — still has an off-season home in the state he calls "my home."
"Being from New Jersey, I've been looking at opportunities to help," the 24-year-old Porcello told The New York Daily News. "I've seen the impact the storm had, the devastation it caused. I wanted to make some difference and when Torri made his offer, this was definitely one way. We're putting something together for the relief efforts and I'm going to be giving back as well."
Porcello — who will be wearing his old high school No. 21 from now on — said Hunter made what was "a very generous" monetary offer.
The righhander saw little action during the Tigers' recent World Series run but Porcello has seen a lot of the destruction left behind in his home state by the superstorm. The image of the Seaside Heights roller coaster sitting in the ocean is one he can't shake off.
"Anybody's who's been down there, that will be burned into people's minds for a long time," he said. "It'll take a lot to bring it back."