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Besides a new number, there will be another notable addition to Anthony Volpe’s No. 11 Yankees jersey on Thursday afternoon.
The new starting shortstop will be the only Yankee to have an extra patch on his sleeve to signify his MLB debut, part of a league-wide initiative that is beginning this season.
Following Volpe’s first game in the major leagues Thursday, the small red, white and blue patch reading “MLB Debut” will be authenticated and then put into a 1-of-1 rookie card in a future Topps set, as part of a partnership between Fanatics Collectibles, MLB and MLB Players Inc. (the business arm of the Players Association).
Every player who makes his MLB debut this season – a group that on Opening Day includes Volpe and Cardinals top prospect Jordan Walker – will wear one of the patches on his jersey.
After the first game the player gets into, the debut patch will be removed and turned into the relic trading card.
“A Major League player’s debut day is a cause for great celebration and the culmination of many years of hard work,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Topps has been a great partner to Baseball for decades, and I think this particular initiative is crucial to the development of deeper fan engagement.”
“For a player there is no bigger moment than the first time they step onto a field for their Major League debut,” MLBPA executive director Tony Clark said. “The Debut Patch is one way to capture the timeless nature of this moment and provide fans the opportunity to be part of it by collecting a player worn item.”
On Wednesday, the Yankees announced Volpe would be trading the No. 77 he wore during spring training for No. 11.
He’ll don the new digit at Yankee Stadium with several family members, friends and plenty of fans cheering him on as he embarks on his MLB journey.