Posting a written message in both English and Spanish and a brief video with his son, Aarón, Miguel Rojas announced Wednesday night on Instagram that he will switch uniform numbers this season, from No. 19 to No. 11. The English version below has been lightly edited for clarity:
It has been (a) hard and different start of the year so far for me and my whole family. Losing my Grandpa and mom during the same week made me think about all the amazing memories I have with them while I was growing up, (especially because) a lot of them were in a baseball field. This off season I spend a lot of time back home in Venezuela where this family dream started, I got to sit and look back (at) everything that I had to overcome to be who I’m right now. That’s why today I’m telling all my fans that I will be honoring my grandpa this season and I’ll change my number to number 11, a number that my superhero “Rafael” got to coach me when I took my first steps and got (in love) with the game of Baseball ❤️
A sido un muy difícil y diferente comienzo de año para mi y toda mi familia hasta ahora. Perder a mi Mama y Abuelo en la misma semana me hizo pensar acerca de todas las grandiosas experiencias que tengo con ellos en mi infancia sobre todo por que casi todas fueron en un terreno de Baseball. Estás vacaciones pase mucho tiempo en mi casa Venezuela donde este sueño familiar comenzó, y encontré muchos recuerdos mirando al pasado de lo que tuve que vivir para ser quien soy ahora. Por eso es que hoy comparto con todos ustedes seguidores que estaré honrando a mi abuelo y cambiaré mi número al 11, un número que mi Súper héroe “Rafael” tuvo la oportunidad de dirigirme cuando di mis primeros pasos y me enamoré de este deporte el Baseball ❤️
Through the years, Rojas has publicly expressed gratitude to his grandfather for assisting his baseball career. That includes writing “Abuelo” on his Players’ Weekend jersey in 2017. When visiting his native Venezuela in December, he noted on Twitter that people were continuing to ask about how Rafael was doing, a testament to the impact he had on that community.
Que bonito es regresar a donde comenzaste, a donde creciste y donde te formaste. Pero para mi el orgullo más grande es que la primera persona que la gente me pregunta por el es mi ABUELO ❤️ Por ti soy quien soy Rafael pic.twitter.com/kL28nWz3a1— Miguel Rojas (@MRojasOfficial) December 16, 2021
As Marcos Perez brought to my attention, shortstop Luis Aparicio wore No. 11 throughout his major league career. The first Venezuelan-born player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Aparicio is close in age to Rojas’ late grandfather. Perhaps that is why the number was so significant to him.
Miggy Ro will, coincidentally, become the 11th Marlins player to wear No. 11. It was most recently worn by Logan Forsythe in 2020 and most notably worn by Marlins All-Stars J.T. Realmuto and Álex González (another Venezuelan).
Previously, Rojas had worn No. 19 during each of his first seven seasons in the Marlins organization. He has left open the possibility of switching back to it in 2023, which is the final year of his current contract.
However, if Rojas chooses to stick with No. 11 indefinitely, it would present an easy opportunity for the Marlins to retire No. 19. Doing so would simultaneously honor Jeff Conine (1993-1997), Mike Lowell (2000-2005) and Rojas (2015-2021).
The Fish do not have any uniform numbers formally retired right now, and as many of you have bemoaned, they’ve done a poor job of celebrating the franchise’s history under new ownership. This would be an easy place to start, if Rojas is comfortable with it.