Dodgers Team News

Fernando Valenzuela: Were the Dodgers Right to Change Number Retirement Policy?

Here at Dodgers Nation, we believe in setting our own path, marching to the beat of our own drummer, not being confined to the strictures of society. So when we see “Betteridge’s Law of Headlines,” which states, “Any headline that ends in a question mark can be answered by the word ‘no,'” we think to ourselves, “Can we write a headline with a question where the answer, instead of ‘no,’ is ‘heck yeah’?”

Well, folks, we’ve done it! The headline on this very article is a question, and the answer most definitely is not “no.” The Dodgers will be retiring the number 34 this summer in honor of Fernando Valenzuela, one of the most iconic players and people in Los Angeles history. The number hasn’t been issued since Fernando last wore it in 1990, and it’s been the unwritten but always-followed policy of the team to never issue it again.

This summer, that policy will become official, and 34 will hang on the loge level at Dodger Stadium alongside other Dodger legends.

This is unquestionably the right move. We can quibble about what comes next — with LA finally making an exception to their policy about only retiring the numbers of Hall of Famers, will Steve Garvey’s number 6 be next? Should it? What about Orel Hershiser and Maury Wills and Don Newcombe and Ron Cey and Justin Turner etc. etc. etc.?

There will be time for all of those arguments, but none of those involve Fernando Valenzuela. Fernando was an outstanding and historic pitcher in Dodger blue, and he’s currently a vital part of LA’s Spanish-language broadcast team. He’s been remarkably important to the franchise and to the city of Los Angeles in both capacities, and he is a true legend who is utterly deserving of this honor. Whether it’s a one-time exception or a change to the policy, we don’t care right now.

Fernando’s number 34 will be retired, and that is, without question, a very good thing.

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Jeff Snider

Jeff was born into a Dodgers family in Southern California and is now raising a Dodgers family of his own in Utah. During his previous career as an executive at a technology company, he began writing about baseball in his spare time. After leaving corporate America in 2014, he started doing it professionally. Jeff wrote and edited for Baseball Essential for years before joining Dodgers Nation. He's also the co-host of the Locked On Dodgers podcast, a daily podcast that brings the smart fan's perspective on our Boys in Blue. Jeff has a degree in English from Brigham Young University. Favorite Player: Clayton Kershaw Favorite Moment: Kirk Gibson's homer will always have a place, but Kershaw's homer on Opening Day 2013 might be the winner.


  1. Will Steve Garvey’s number 6 be next? Should it? What about Orel Hershiser and Maury Wills Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, Wes Parker, and Don Newcombe and Ron Cey and Justin Turner etc. etc. etc. absolutely!!!

  2. Wrong question. The proper question is why hasn’t Venezuela been voted into the HOF! In my opinion, the standards are too high and the people that vote are too east coast and too white! Bunch of White old men. Garvey should be in the HOF along with Wills and others.

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