Numbers mean everything in baseball. A .300 career-batting average will put you in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Over 500 home runs is almost a surefire ticket to Cooperstown.
The number 42, famously worn by Jackie Robinson, has been permanently retired by Major League Baseball, and the Cincinnati Reds have an additional10 numbers hovering over the playing surface at Great American Ball Park to honor some of the greatest players the game has ever seen.
But for a pair of former Reds players, they now share the same uniform number with another team. Tommy Pham was given No. 28 after being traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks last summer. Another former Cincinnati star, Eugenio Suárez, will wear the No. 28 during the upcoming season for the D-backs after being traded to Arizona earlier this winter.
Former Reds, Eugenio Suárez and Tommy Pham, share ironic link with Diamondbacks
Suárez was part of a trade with the Seattle Mariners earlier this offseason that saw the third baseman leave the Emerald City in exchange for right-handed pitcher Carlos Vargas and catcher Seby Zavala. Geno is in the final guaranteed year of a contract extension he originally signed with the Reds. Suárez is owed $11 million this season and has $15 million club-option for 2025.
Suárez was beloved during his time in the Queen City. The slugger finished his Reds career with 189 home runs, 524, RBI, and an .811 OPS. Geno also set the single-season home run record for a Venezuelan-born player when he crushed 49 round-trippers in 2019, breaking Andrés Gallaraga's mark of 47 big flies during his 1996 season with the Colorado Rockies.
Suárez, along with Jesse Winker, was traded to Seattle prior to the 2022 season as the Cincinnati Reds were looking to shed payroll and restock the farm system. That trade helped to lay the groundwork for the Reds rebuild that brought Brandon Williamson, Connor Phillips, Jake Fraley, and Justin Dunn to Cincinnati.
While Tommy Pham didn't cross paths with Suárez during his Reds' tenure, the outfielder did spend a little time in Cincinnati. Pham was signed during the same offseason in which Suárez was dealt to Seattle. The former San Diego Padres slugger was supposed to offer some pop in the middle of a Reds lineup that had lost Suárez, Winker, and Nick Castellanos.
Pham's time in Cincy was rather short. He was traded to the Boston Red Sox midway through the 2022 season and signed on with the New York Mets last winter before being dealt to the Diamondbacks. Pham is still on the open market this offseason.
While Suárez is much more fondly thought of by the Reds fanbase, both players have a link to Cincinnati, and now the duo have worn the same number for the Diamondbacks organization. Geno, who wore No. 7 with the Reds, joins former teammate Tucker Barnhart, as well as Ricky Karcher and Kevin Newman, who'll all be present at the D-backs spring training later this month.