GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – It’s one of the biggest honors in East Carolina baseball.
Every year a player is chosen to wear the honorary jersey #23. It’s the number late ECU coach, Keith LeClair wore before his death in 2006.
“The number 23 represents greatness of the heart and soul of the East Carolina pirates,” said ECU baseball coach, Billy Godwin.
23 isn’t just a number when it comes to ECU baseball. It represents a legend. Each year a player is awarded the honorary jersey of Keith LeClair. But not just any player. It goes to someone with the same determination and passion the former ECU coach had. Someone like Timothy Younger.
"For him to receive this award, and first junior college guy and only be a year and a half, that says all there is to say about Timmy younger,” said Godwin.
Younger was awarded the Jersey during Satuday’s annual “Meet the Pirate” event. Hundreds of fans came out to show their support as the Jersey was passed down. The senior infielder transferred from St. Petersburg College and played 50 games during his first year with the pirates. While he’s already garnered quite a fan base, he admits he has some big shoes to fill.
"23, it's a great honor, many great guys have worn this before me,” said Younger.
Although he never had the opportunity to meet LeClair, Younger says he believes he shared a lot of the same values as the ECU legend.
"God is one in my life, He’s always first and I believe coach LeClair was like that too,” he said.
He’ll be sporting the jersey loud and proud.
"Who it represents and what he was all about is what I’m all about,” said Younger.
#23 became an honorary jersey in 2003 – just three years before LeClair’s death. Younger will be the 7 th senior and 9 th pirate to wear the jersey.
Keith LeClair died in 2006 after a long battle with ALS. His memory lives on as the pirates open the 2012 season on February 17 th. They play host to the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee.