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Lackey gives Neshek a Ruth ball for number switch

AP - Sports
Lackey gives Neshek a Ruth ball for number switch

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St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Pat Neshek throws to first for an out against San Diego Padres' Jake Goebbert during the ninth inning of a baseball game Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- St. Louis Cardinals newcomer John Lackey really wanted to keep his old number, so he gave teammate Pat Neshek quite a reward for switching jerseys.

After Neshek gave up his No. 41 uniform, Lackey gave him a baseball autographed by Babe Ruth that's worth thousands of dollars.

Neshek switched to No. 37 after Lackey was acquired from Boston last month at the trade deadline. Neshek announced the payoff Wednesday on Twitter, along with a photo of the ball and a letter of authenticity.

Manager Mike Matheny remembers giving up No. 22 when the Cardinals traded for Will Clark in 2000 and said it was no big deal, just a number. Clark gave Matheny a compound bow that the manager has passed on to his children.

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