Is this a sign that the Cardinals are hesitant to retire the slugging first baseman’s jersey? Perhaps. The other thing to factor in the matter is that there are only so many jersey numbers that the team can retire before moving on to triple digit uniform numbers.
However, Bell wore #25 for the Cardinals before McGwire was acquired by the the club during the 1997 season. As Derrick Goold explains, the number means something to Bell and his family. Outside of the time that McGwire was the team’s hitting coach, the jersey number hasn’t been re-issued since McGwire retired at the end of the 2001 season.
"“I’m going to wear it with a lot of pride not only because of what it means for my family, but also I know what McGwire meant here,” Bell said. “It is special.”"
Albert Pujols‘ #5 jersey is one that will never ever be worn again. When he retires, catcher Yadier Molina‘s #4 jersey will also be a number that will never be re-issued again, joining single digits #1 (Ozzie Smith), #2 (Red Schoendienst), #6 (Stan Musial), and #9 (Enos Slaughter). There are some who argue that #9 should also be retired for Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre since he wore the jersey during his short playing career with the Cardinals. I, for one, would not be opposed to that.