Joc Pederson switched jersey numbers with Cubs to honor Kobe Bryant
Joc Pederson is switching jersey numbers and honoring Kobe Bryant in the process.
For most of his MLB career, Pederson wore No. 31 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The 28-year-old outfielder signed with the Chicago Cubs in free agency. He couldn’t continue wearing No. 31 because the number is retired with the Cubs for Fergie Jenkins and Greg Maddux. So Pederson chose to wear No. 24 instead.
“Because of Kobe, it was a no brainer for me to wear 24,” Pederson said on Wednesday.
Pederson said he got to talk with Bryant since they were both athletes in Los Angeles. He grew to respect Bryant’s work ethic and mentality.
“Talking to him about how he viewed basketball and the details that went into practice and film, it was pretty eye-opening,” Pederson said. “Even competing in practice and his demeanor towards that, I understand why he was as good as he was and maximized his ability.”
Pederson is a career .230 hitter who offers good power for an outfielder. He hit a career-high 36 dingers in 2019 and had an .876 OPS that season. And now he will see how he performs in the NL Central with the Cubs.