SportsPulse: It finally happened. Bryce Harper has landed in Philly. FTW’s Ted Berg explains how Harper instantly makes them title contenders even in a loaded NL East.
For his entire professional career with the Washington Nationals, Bryce Harper wore No. 34.
But in Philadelphia, he’s switching to No. 3.
Harper said Saturday he chose to wear No. 3 in Philadelphia as a way to pay his respects to the late Roy Halladay, the longtime Phillies pitcher who died in 2017 and is being posthumously inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July.
“Of course I wore 34 (in Washington), but I thought Roy Halladay should be the last one to wear it (in Philadelphia),” Harper told reporters at his introductory news conference on Saturday. “He’s somebody in this game that, you know, is greater than a lot of guys who have ever played it. A Hall of Famer. Somebody who played the game the right way. Was a great person and was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met, being able to play across from him in 2012. So, for me, it’s Roy Halladay. He’s No. 34 and he’s what represents that number in Philly. And when you go in there and see his name on that flagpole in center field. It’s something that he should be remembered for.”
Harper signed a record-setting 13-year, $330 million deal with the Phillies this week. By wearing No. 3, Harper abandons the jersey number he wore with the Washington Nationals throughout his seven year MLB career and in college at Southern Nevada Junior College. He also won’t be wearing No. 7 — the number of his idol, Mickey Mantle.
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“Maikel Franco (current Phillies third baseman), he wore 7. And he’s a teammate of mine. I didn’t want to ask for the number,” Harper explained. “I didn’t feel right doing that. I don’t know if that has any significance to him being No. 7, but I didn’t want to find out. He’s No. 7 on the Phillies and he should be able to wear that number every single day.
The six-time All-Star and former NL MVP said selecting No. 3 was family-driven — even though his wife isn’t thrilled with the pick.
“No. 3, it’s kind of like a family number for us. My brother wore it in high school. My dad wore it in high school growing up,” Harper said. “My mom wore 13. My wife isn’t very happy about the number because she likes even numbers, so looking down and seeing No. 3 is going to be a little tough for her. It’s pretty much a family number and it’s looks OK.”