Neshek Gives Up #41, Gets Ruth Ball in Return

If you ever wind up in a Secret Santa exchange, cross your fingers that John Lackey has your name.

The veteran pitcher was traded from Boston to St. Louis earlier this month but his uniform number 41 was already in use by Cardinals’ relief ace Pat Neshek.  Apparently pretty attached to the number, Lackey asked if Neshek wouldn’t mind giving it up. It’s a common practice among pro athletes but usually it comes with a price.  Lackey, with a reputation for generosity, apparently knew all about Neshek’s passion for collecting and in return for receiving his old number, gave Neshek an autographed Babe Ruth baseball.

Neshek publicly thanked his new teammate via Twitter, where he posted a photo of the ball and the PSA/DNA authentication.

Neshek’s new number, by the way, is 37.