It’s only a number, but #33 has had a very special meaning to the Hooker family of Laurel County for many years.
“That number has kind of been a part of our life ever since Jon started playing ball. And it’s very important to us. Every time we see it..we think of him immediately,” said Adam Hooker, Jon’s brother.
Jon Hooker wore #33 when he played high school ball at North Laurel High School in London. It was his number at UK, and for a short stint in the minor leagues of professional baseball. Now someone else wants to wear it. Brandon Webb wishes to change his number to 33 when he starts pitching for the Texas Rangers next year.
“For Brandon to be able to wear that, it’s just going to continue to make us see that as we watch him because of that number,” said Hooker.
Adam Hooker says his brother and Brandon Webb both pitched at UK and were friends ever since.
“They remained very close from that point, talking on the phone, Jon was in his wedding,” said Hooker.
Jon and his wife, Scarlett, were killed the day after their 2006 wedding, in the crash of Comair Flight 5191 near Blue Grass Airport.
Webb couldn’t make the wedding, but he was allowed to pay his respects to the Hooker family just after the crash.
“Brandon actually got released to come down to our home just a few days after the crash. Major League Baseball usually only allows it to be for immediate family,” said Hooker.