Chicago has long been the home of great Nos. 23.
Michael Jordan. Ryne Sandberg. Robin Ventura. Pierce Jones.
Jones is the latest big-time playmaker to don the legendary jersey number. He plays for Jackie Robinson West, the team representing Chicago in the Little League World Series. And he hit three home runs Thursday, sending the young Chicagoans to their latest win, this one by the score of 12-2.
Jones led off with a home run in the first inning, then settled for only three bases in his next at-bat with a second-inning triple. Then he got back on the home-run horse, smacking one in each of his next two at-bats in the third and the fifth.
"I've never had a game like this," Jones said in a TV interview after the game. "I just wanted to have a short, quick approach, drive the ball up the middle and have good at-bats."
He wasn't the only one. As a team, Jackie Robinson West went 13-for-27 with a quartet of homers. They scored a dozen runs and have now cranked 18 homers in the past seven games.
When asked how many more they'll hit, Jones had the right answer:
"I don't know, but we hope for more."
You might want to keep the name Pierce Jones in the back of your mind. A Hall of Famer has some pretty high hopes.
"This is stuff of legends," said ESPN commentator and Cincinnati Reds legend Barry Larkin. "His major league career may have started today"