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What is Each City’s Most Sacred Uniform Number?

max patkin jersey

By Phil Hecken

We often talk about uniforms, uniform numbers, cities in which sports are played, different sports played in a city, etc. Yesterday on Uni Watch, guest writer Heather Scott wrote about the retirement of Jorge Posada, after many years in a Yankee uniform. Not many comments ensued, but there was a comment about the Red Sox longtime backstop also retiring in the off-season (Jason Varitek). And, that got reader Mike Engle to thinking. Jason Varitek wore number “33” for Boston, which just happens to be a rather famous number in that city.

I’ll let Mike take it from here:

Jason Varitek’s retirement reminds me of a question I occasionally ponder. What is each city’s most sacred uniform number?

For instance, #33 is probably the most sacred uniform number in Boston. Retired for Larry Bird, worn by two significant championship captains (Varitek and Zdeno Chara), and also worn by Kevin Faulk, who was a significant contributor to the Patriots’ Super Bowls. But you’d have an OK argument for #4 in Boston: retired for Bobby Orr and Joe Cronin, and worn by Adam Vinatieri, who had a bunch of clutch kicks to win Super Bowls.

I’d nominate #24 in Seattle, for Ken Griffey, Jr., Dennis Johnson, and Shawn Springs.

Who else do we have?

So I said to myself, “Self…this would be a fun little exercise for the Uni Watch brethren to contemplate and complete.” As soon as Mike posted that, I shot him an E-mail telling him I liked this idea. Interestingly, he had a few more thoughts on the matter:

Do you want to start a brainstorm? I can give you some more nominees.

Montreal: Slim pickins, but I guess it has to be #10. Retired for Guy LaFleur AND André Dawson AND Rusty Staub. Thrice between two (both, if you don’t count the Alouettes) teams? Pretty lofty.

Houston: #34, and it’s a biggie. Nolan Ryan, Earl Campbell, and Hakeem Olajuwon. It’s gonna take a lot to top that.


Strangely enough…Mike wasn’t through:

Los Angeles: #32, which might have just topped Houston in my latest email to you! Sandy Koufax, Magic Johnson, and Marcus Allen all wore it professionally with HOF credentials (the Raiders do not retire numbers, but the other teams did for them). I don’t intend to include university athletes in this discussion, but you can’t ignore Bill Walton, OJ Mayo, and OJ Simpson on the NCAA level. Kelly Hrudey was no slouch either, but he just might get eclipsed at his own team, position, and jersey number by Jonathan Quick! Plus, you have Blake Griffin on that other basketball team.


Thanks, Mike that’s quite a list.

Not too many readers played along in the comments, but one who did, and gave another great example, was Tim E. O’Brien, who proffered thusly:

Chicago ”“ 23

Robbin (sic) Ventura ”“ CWS
Devin Hester ”“ CB
Ryne Sandberg ”“ CHC
J.P. Bordeleau ”“ CBH

I can’t think of anybody for the Bulls though…

Good stuff folks.

So, lets see if we can’t come up with a few — maybe one for each city that has at least three major teams (and if your city includes hockey, soccer or some other non-major [or college] sport, feel free to include those as well). And, while it’s not quite in the same vein, but still “fun,” lets see if we can’t offer up the most famous number in ALL cities for all sports. In other words, if you had to come up with a uniform number made famous by the most people (any sport), what would it be? My own city, New York, has probably too many different numbers to crown just one — but I’d like to think 42 might be up there. Feel free to pick some others.

Thanks to Mike Engle for the idea. Readers? Fire away…


Benchies Header


by Rick Pearson


One more bumper sticker…

3-4-12 s-buggy ALT

And, as always, the full-size.


all sport uni tweaks

Uni Tweaks Concepts

We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.

So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.

Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.

And so, lets begin:


We start with Hiatt Werling, with a bit of an off-beat (pun intended) tweak:

Dear Phil,

This is a weird tweak, just a quick little one-off idea, and I don’t blame you if you choose not to put it on the site. There’s a song I like called “Sugar Free Jazz” by the 90’s alternative rock band Soul Coughing, and thinking about the title of the song made me think of the Utah Jazz, so I made them a “Sugar Free Jazz” uniform. It’s just their current uniform with the colors from the late nineties uniforms (which I thought suited the idea of “Sugar Free Jazz” better).

-Hiatt Werling


More self-described “tweaks” come to us from Nick Sallack, who has decided that following the death of JoePa, PSU could use some changing:


I’ve done the unthinkable.

These are my “tweaks” to the Penn State football uniforms.

Before anybody complains too loudly, I am a proud alumnus and did this with the best possible intentions. And I think if anybody is going to do this, I think it should be one of us. I’ve shared these on Penn State message boards, and the reactions have ranged from enthusiasm to “Your kid’s youth league team would look great in those,” which I thought was assuming a lot. Anyway…

My goal was to stay true to the spartan, functional aesthetic of the classic Penn State uniform while at the same time completely modernizing it. I also incorporated a few elements from historical Penn State uniforms.

-Reincorporated the single pants stripe and helmet numbers from mid-70s uniforms

Changed facemask to grey

-Incorporated a chain-stitch pattern on the yoke to emulate a vintage jersey. This will look sweet on the new Nike chainmail mesh material.

-Added keystone and block S homeplate insignia

– Added a third color, which I call Keystone Grey. This allows for more flexibility in combinations.

-The alternate helmet is solid matte navy, and uses a derivation of a logo call the “Pozniak Lion”, which I altered to have more of a taper and a steeper pitch to the eyes–more badass, basically. You can see this logo in the composite shot.

– A new identity system, including a modernization of the “streamline” font. The number font is Station 232 which I pitched about 15 degrees.

-On to the obvious standout…as some people know, the legend says that PSU’s first colors were black and pink. This is my take on that. I could do a writeup for this in itself, but the cool details on this one are a matte-finish “coal patterned” helmet and a “tech-chenille” material on the block S.

Love the site. Keep up the good work.

-Nick Sallack


We conclude today with Ryan Mallady who has a rhetorical question:


-Will we ever stop trying to fix the Seahawks?

-Blue helmets are the second-most common background color in the league (6 teams), and their old gray helmet is already worn by four other teams. This tweak involves switching to green helmets and establishing a quickly identifiable unique identity. True, they have one now with the monochrome blueberry look, but, that can be improved. The only other green background helmet is the Eagles (and really, that’s more a dark teal/cyan than real green). The blue helmet has no contrast with the tribal hawk head. Using a forest green (Northwest-appropriate, not neon) for contrast sets it apart more, and reduces some of the neon backlash.

-Get rid of the light “steel blue”. It’s silly there’s two similar shades of blue. Keep the dark navy, and in fact darken it up a bit more for contrast.

-This emphasizes the only two colors the Seahawks have used in both previous uniform styles, blue and green, and makes a unique statement. Hope you all like it.

-Uni template from Wikipedia (JohnnySeoul) and helmet template from Creamers.

Ryan in Seattle


And that is all for this weekend. Back with more next time.


colorize this

Colorize This!

Occasionally, I will be featuring wonderful, high-quality black and white photographs that are just begging to be colorized.

Back again this week with the old standby’s. And maybe a surprise or two.

We will start with the half of the G&G boys who hails from across the pond, George Chilvers:

Hi Phil

I’ve got some ready for next week, so to start with, as I believe I have read somewhere there is some political hoohah going on this year over there, this is tangentially linked.

It’s the son of a former POTUS, this is FDR junior at Groton. Love the noseguard.

Original here.

More to follow


Indeed, George wasn’t done:


For number 2 we go back to my 1895 pictures and this is a rugby player, Charles Gurdon, of Richmond club. He played earlier than 1895, in the 1880s, but still got an entry in the book. I just really like the team colours, which Richmond still wear. Magnificent moustache too.

Besides playing rugby he also rowed for Cambridge, so became a “Double Blue” – representing Cambridge in two sports. I love the book’s description of him as a rower: “At Rugby Football he was quite one of the best forwards, but in addition he was a wet bob…” Make your own punch-line :)


Oh yes. And, for good measure, one more:


And so to number three. And a bit of social history (I do like to add a bit of education to my hobby!)

This is Arthur Wharton, who played football (soccer) for a number of teams in the North of England between 1885 and 1902. This picture has him in the colours of Rotherham Town (who later merged with other clubs to become modern day Rotherham United).

The interesting thing about him is that he is considered to be the first black professional football player in the world. Andrew Watson played football for Scotland before him, but he was amateur. Wharton was the first black professional and the first to play in the Football League.



Next up is John Turney, who sent another he’s tweaked. I’m not sure if he actually colorized this himself, but it’s still pretty sweet, either way:


Colorization of Browns, with Autochrome 1936-62 Filter to replicate the era.

John Turney


And we conclude today with the second half of the G&G Boys, Gary Chanko, with some baseball:


From this week’s There’s No Service Like Wire Service, Vol 39 is this puzzling photo of Joe DiMaggio outfitted in a DONS uni. I say puzzling because there appears to be no record of him having played for such a team, including his days as a Bay Area semi-pro in 1931-32. There is also no information about any team in the San francisco area named the DONS, except for the University of San Francisco.

We know Joe didn’t attend USF (or even finish high school), so maybe he was recruited by USF for an exhibition game. There’s another image, perhaps from the same game, here that shows a bit more detail.

In any event I went with USF colors of green and gold for the colorization. Hopefully one of the Uni-Watch experts can provide further clarification concerning this photo.



Thanks Gary, George & John. As always, great stuff.

Back with more colorizations next time.



And Finally…

Well, yesterday we got our first look at the Texas Rangers throwback uniforms on actual players. Previously, we’d seen them as jerseys only, and some of us wondered allowed just how well they might come off as actual uniforms.

As with everything else (it seems), both the cuts of the uniforms, and the way the players like to wear them, combined with Majestic not taking proper care to actually give the uniforms any “throwbackish” cut/look — well — here’s how they look. Good God. Even Ian Kinsler, he of the high sock, doesn’t look great, but at least he approximates the look of a big leaguer.

But we’re used to seeing white uniforms worn in pajama length, in sweatpant style, so the other two uniforms just look slovenly. But we’re NOT used to seeing powder blue unis, which should sorta look like this, end up being worn like this. But it’s not JUST the cut and the style, once again Majestic fucks up the little details, like, for example — the width of the pants & jersey stripes. Lets take a look again — what they should look like and what they do look like. (side-by-side)

But wait, maybe Majestic was just going by this 1974 Baseball Card — which shows the thinner pants stripes — there is only one problem — they didn’t wear powder blue in 1973-4 (despite many photographs that actually appear to show the uniform in a light blue). But those uniforms had “Rangers” across the front, not “Texas” anyway. So clearly Majestic did its usual slip-shod work on these throwbacks as well.

OK, from the waist up, they don’t look too bad. But it’s the whole package that counts. Another fail, Majestic, another fail.


And that will do it for this fine first Sunday in March. Everyone have a great week.


“It’s not baseball season til Zito gives up 12 runs in 1 & 2/3s.” — Brinke Guthrie

Comments (270)

    19 was my first thought for Cleveland numbers, too: Feller and Kosar. Didn’t get past those two, though.

    My one issue with the Benchies postings – how come the link to the larger version is always below it? I always end up trying to click on the image first before I realize that. Anybody else end up doing that?

    it’s just HTML coding…paul codes his pictures so that when you click on the image, you get a larger one…i don’t do that, instead making you take the additional step of clicking on the link directly below the photo


    Ya me too.
    I see the Amish buggies a lot across the line in Pa. New Wilmington, Pa.

    Cities and their sacred numbers: Great topic! I jotted my thoughts before I started reading.

    My first thought was that some cities had sole players whose impact, legacies and memories would make their numbers sacred on their own: Chicago 41, Atlanta 44, Detroit 9, Baltimore 19, Buffalo 32, New York 3.

    As for cities and their numbers, Cincinnati and 14. Pete Rose, Kenny Anderson and now Andy Dalton.

    …and Dennis Sobchuk for the Cincinnati Stingers (WHA).

    He was the 1st player the Stingers signed as a franchise.

    Hey, c’mon now. The latter guy’s arthritis is so bad I don’t think he can even make a fist.

    Milwaukee is tough … If you count the Packers as a Milwaukee team, you might use 4 (Brett Favre, Paul Molitor, Sidney Moncrief). An obvious one is 44 for Henry Aaron. The Bucks and Brewers don’t really match up in retired numbers, though. Probably for the Bucks, it would be 33 for Kareem or 1 for Oscar. The Brewers would have to be 19 for Yount although Ryan Braun’s 8 may come through someday. Maybe if you wanted to take Wisconsin as a whole, you could say 33 for Kareem and Ron Dayne, but there’s not really a famous Packer 33.

    For Green Bay on its own, the obvious ones are 15 for Starr and 66 for Nitschke (my personal choice), although there is a lot of sentiment for Paul Hornung’s 5. Every time the Packers have tried to assign it to someone (Vince Ferragamo, Don Majkowski), there has been a fan outcry. Majik eventually switched to 7.

    We’re known as “Wigan nil”, because that’s how our score is usually announced

    not to be a stickler — but hey, isn’t that what this site is all about?

    anyway, 14 is still the number. and it’s not close. but oscar wore no. 12 at uc, but did wear no. 14 with the royals

    New York is tricky because of all the teams, but I’d go with 10 — Walt Frazier, Pele, Eli Manning, Phil Rizzuto.

    The Bay Area’s number is easy, 24.

    Two of the greatest baseball players to ever play wore it
    here Willie Mays and Rickey Henderson.

    The Warriors retired it for Hall of Famer Rick Barry.

    It was worn by Raider Hall of Famer Willie Brown.

    It was even worn by the Sharks first Captain and current GM Doug Wilson.

    Lastly Jeff Gordon who is from the Bay Area drives the 24 car.

    Pittsburgh: I think Roberto Clemente’s impact was big enough that 21 should be considered for Pittsburgh. It is also retired for the Penguins for Michel Briere who was a good player with promise that died tragically young. However, I can’t think of anyone for the Steelers and they’re Pittsburgh’s favorite team of the three.

    Yeah, I think Clemente’s #21 is the right answer, but it’s at least a little problematic that there aren’t any iconic Steelers who wore #21. Tony Dungy is the biggest “name” that wore it, but he was more famous as a coach than a player, and his coaching success was with different teams.

    If you go with Lemieux’s #66, you’ve probably got no Pirates, and the Steelers are Alan Faneca and a bunch of “who?”s. So #21 might be a better choice, because at least Briere for the Pens makes some sense there.

    Mario’s 66 is as iconic as Roberto’s 21. The problem is that there’s no crossover between teams. (While Briere’s death was tragic, and I have no problem with his number being retired, I don’t think he’d have been any better than Pierre Larouche, let alone the players who actually belong in this discussion.) Alan Faneca is better than any Steeler who wore #21, but there are many more important numbers for the Steelers; 58 would be the starting point for this.

    As a lifelong Pittsburgher. The first number that popped into my head was 66. Though, I am 29 and Mario was who i grew up watching. Clemente was out of my generation, so maybe that is why. I would have no problem with either.

    For Detroit, I’d say it’s a toss up between 19 (Yzerman) or 20 (Barry Sanders). Think I might give the edge to Sanders though.

    Between Sanders and Yzerman alone, I’d probably give the edge to Yzerman, but with the overall histories of the numbers, I have to lean toward 20.

    Sanders, Billy Sims, and Lem Barney (all with the Lions); Mickey Redmond, Martin Lapointe, Luc Robitaille, and Robert Lang for the Wings; and, well, Allan Houston is probably the most significant player to wear 20 for the Pistons, while Howard Johnson wore 20 for the 1984 Tigers.

    19… aside from Yzerman, Paul Henderson wore 19 the longest for the Wings (1964-68). It was worn by three World Series-winning Tigers (Joe Sullivan in 1935, Al Benton in 1945, and Dave Rozema in 1984). Reggie Harding is the only player to wear 19 for any significant time with the Pistons, who haven’t issued it since 1969. Finally, for the Lions… well, there’s always Scott Mitchell.

    Mark Fydrich also wore 20 for the Tigers. What about 11, for Detroit? Retired for Sparky and Isiah with the Tigers and Pistons.

    Dallas: 22.

    Sports in Dallas begins with the Cowboys, and Emmitt Smith is arguably their best-ever player.

    Dallas also won the Stanley Cup once, and Brett Hull (usually known as No. 16) wore 22 when he buried the buscuit in Buffalo.

    Not to mention Rolando Blackman, a 4-time All-Star with the Mavericks, who later retired his #22 jersey…

    For best jersey number in New York, 12 is pretty good:

    Joe Namath, Jets (#12 retired by the team)

    Wade Boggs, Yankees

    Dick Barnett, Knicks (#12 retired by the team)

    Ken Sears, Knicks (first basketball player ever to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated)

    Andy Hebenton, Rangers (holds the record for the longest streak without missing a game in professional hockey history, and ranked #53 in 100 Ranger Greats book)

    Don Maloney, Rangers (ranked #26 in 100 Ranger Greats)

    Duane Sutter, Islanders (contributed to winning 4 consecutive Stanley Cups from ’80 to ’83)

    Mick Vukota, Islanders (team career penalty minutes leader)

    Apparently the Mets uniform number site I checked for number 12’s didn’t list Ron Darling, and he was a pretty good pitcher for them in the 80’s.

    Or #1, retired for Richie Ashburn and Bernie Parent, and…yeesh, worn by Samuel Dalembert and…help me out on an Eagle please?
    #32 has an argument too, retired for Steve Carlton and Billy Cunningham, briefly worn by Charles Barkley (HIV/Magic tribute), worn by Ricky Watters and, hopefully, a better Flyer than Roman Cechmanek.

    Former Flyers captain Dave Poulin on #20, too.

    And, er…Murray Craven for #32?

    Certainly not as iconic, but Philly has a surprisingly rich list of players wearing 2.

    Flyers: Mark Howe (NHL HoF, number being retired tonight)
    Sixers: Moses Malone (NBA HoF, number retired)
    Eagles: David Akers (the best kicker the team ever had, 6 Pro Bowls, 5x All-Pro)
    Phillies: Granny Hamner (16-year Phils career, 3x All-Star, starting SS on the 1950 NL Champs)

    Not a bad list, that.

    #20 is good, but I’d also consider #1 (retired by the Phillies for Richie Ashburn, the Flyers for Bernie Parent)…or maybe #32 (Phillies – Steve Carlton, 76ers – Billy Cunningham) for Philadelphia

    I think Sanders 20 wins for Detroit. Doesn’t seem to be much number crossover for that city though. Hockey has 9 and 19, football 20 and *maybe* 84, basketball 4, 11 & 40… I’m clueless on the Tigers…

    On that NFL Network “Top 10” show they had one episode about the best football jersey numbers, and I think Barry Sanders’ 20 was mentioned, and how it was previously worn by Sims and Barney. Apparently the coaching staff was growing close to Sanders during training camp and had high hopes for him, so they decided to allow him to wear “Billy’s old number”. That is a direct quote from the Lions’ coach who was interviewed on the show.

    I think I’m a supporter of letting up-and-coming prospects/high draft picks wear the same number as a really good/really popular retired player from the same team. Maybe giving it to them before they even play a down isn’t the best idea, but what’s wrong with letting the rookies earn a sacred number? You never know who’s gonna rise to the top. We all know many first round picks have been busts, and many lower round picks have become NFL legends.

    Matt Stafford has had one good season. Let’s wait until he retires before we start comparing him with Mr. Hockey.

    I’m an idiot, I forgot dave poulin wore #20 in the 80’s for the flyers. That’s a better choice than pronger, for philly at least. Can’t think of another 20 for the sixers. But you have to remember, Andre Waters wore it before BDawk too

    More on the Rangers throwbacks: not only do the pants suck, but the elastic belt striping is backwards! Should be red stripe on top, blue on the bottom.

    I hate to play devil’s advocate here — but don’t the teams actually have input in designing the uniforms that they will be wearing? Perhaps the Rangers asked for these changes (modern modifications to a old look) — and Majestic gave them what they asked for (because the customer is always right — right?).

    So I’d blame the Rangers for these. Either they asked for things to look like this (and allowed their players to wear the uniforms like that) — or they didn’t request Majestic to fix it if it wasn’t what they requested.

    I always assumed that TBTC uni errors were based on poor research & lack of corresponding available materials by the manufacturing company – so I would blame Majestic. They just don’t have rolls of retro thick pant & sleeve stripes lying around, so they do with what they already have. The incorrect radially arched “TexaS” wordmark instead of a vertically arch wordmark is just a lazy oversight.

    Mitchell & Ness had no problem trying to replicate uniforms to exact specifications. It’s about effort, attention to detail & mass (or lack thereof) production. Majestic goes “close enough” & waits for the dough to come rolling in.

    Mitchell and Ness HAD no problem back in the day…some of their current stuff is so sloppy as to be laughable.

    I have to disagree- Mitchell and Ness, at least the jerseys available to the public, have been MUCH better the last few years. Look at the White Sox jerseys. The current crop have the correct size numbers, NOB, etc. The first 60’s WS powder blue road jersey they did had piping around the neck which wasn’t there on the original. (Which I kinda liked…)

    If you’re talking about ones they did for TBTC days, you’re probably right.


    I guess it depends on the team…M&N once had correct numbers for Mets 1969 home and road jersies and changed them BOTH to incorrect numbers. That shows me an incredible disregard for accuracy….to have something correct and not even care enough to stay with it.

    I’m thinking, also, that a mock-up of the pants with the thick stripes probably looked ridiculous. Maybe there’s also a comfort thing with where the seams lie?

    New York #17

    Jeremy Lin
    Keith Hernandez
    Plaxico Burress
    Brandon Dubinsky
    Mickey Rivers

    For New York City, it is a difficult call, but at the end of the day, #3 may win out. Just can’t see this category going to a non-Yankee. Jackie Robinson’s #42 is deservedly retired beyond the Brooklyn Dodgers, but in this city-specific question, gotta go with the Babe.

    Who would be the clear choices for the Knicks and Rangers?

    Rangers would have to be 11 for Messier…you could get Phil Simms toowith it…other sports fail though…Bob McAdoo? Wayne Garrett?

    Have your cake, and eat it too. The Yanks have a pretty decent 42 to contribute.

    While the Babe is a tough argument, would he win out against BOTH Jackie and Mo Rivera with 42?

    I’d say at least through the 1980s, Babe Ruth was the undisputed king of all American sports lore. His memory is being muddled with modern & unflattering media, current & recent former players, other leagues & the passage with time.


    no disrespect to #23, but how jordan (not even the greatest NBA player, much less player) beat out ruth in that ESPN 100 Greatest of the 20th Century thing a decade ago still mystifies me

    his airness was amazing, no doubt, but no one was greater, or more important to baseball (the national pasttime) or the nation in the 20’s, than george herman

    On Nick Sallack’s PSU concepts:

    Thanks for the effort, but does it look like Penn State? The answer is “no”. I just don’t think it’s fitting or looks good. JMO.

    Since we are talking about Majestic and their attention to detail, here is a side by side of NY Mets scripts…one from 1985 and the current no-drop shadow version. They are clearly not the same (I do realize that due to the split in front the M and e must be a bit further apart on the current jersey). Am I being too nit picky? Most people won’t notice or care…but it just doesn’t have the exact feel for me. has this been changed on purpose? I doubt it. Any thoughts?


    Paul did a piece of that a while ago (May ’10?). The current Mets script with the “M” being balanced on a different angle than the “ets” started showing up on media 1995 with the uni change but didn’t show up on the uniform until 1999.

    1995 e.g.: link

    Yes..that was the “Wilpon Script”…I believed they fixed that with the new uniforms for 2012 without the black…but they introduced some new issues…the script seems too thick in many areas, especially the belly of the e which is the center of everything.


    This shows the extreme crooked M of the Wilpon script, which seems to be fixed now…but you don’t see the fat e syndrome, as I’ll now call it, that is now being seen. Someone needs to go back and recreate the original artwork, re-issue it and destroy the current templates.


    Not a major city but in Syracuse 44 was huge. Jim Brown and Ernie Davis also Conrad. There was a bar called 44’s. But not sure there is a SkyCheif with 44 or Crunch either

    They retired 44 which a lot of people were opposed to because of the tradition of great players wearing that number.

    Re:Penn State tweeks….doesn’t matter. Place is going to be shut down soon from all the complicity with the child abuse going on there. Feds are involved now so not only the sports, but the whole place will be closed down soon and good riddance

    Yeah, their definitely going to close down one of the best, largest, most prestigious state universities in the US over one man’s abuse scandal. Yup. That’ll happen.


    Someone who doesn’t even like PSU

    Yeah…voted best place in America to be buggered. The whole place is so tainted…if they nuke the place, it wouldn’t be enough.

    The previously mentioned 44 is ok for Atlanta…Hammerin Hank and Pistol Pete. A better choice would be 21. Though Warren Spahan never played in Atlanta, his number hangs in Turner Field, and all true Braves fans hold him in high regard. Dominique Wilkins is the greatest ever Hawk. NFL HOFer Deion Sanders first wore his number 21 as a Falcon. At Georgia Tech, 21 is retired in basketball for All-American Roger Kaiser. In football 21 has been worn by a series of standout players, including two straight ACC player of the years: Calvin Johnson and Jonathan Dwyer. And at UGA, Dominique wore 21 in basketball, and football’s 21 is retired for Hiesman winner Frank Sinkwitch. I would say that rivals LA’s 32 as a top number.

    Going off the top of my head, I thought Spahn was the one Brave who played for the team in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta. Certainly a valid choice anyway.

    I’m pretty sure that’s Eddie Mathews, not Spahn, who played for the Braves in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta.

    Dominique Wilkins is the greatest ever Hawk.

    Certainly in Atlanta. Bob Pettit enters the discussion if you go back to St. Louis.

    Along with Basketball HoFer Cliff Hagan who played 10 seasons in St. Louis, 5 ASG appearances, 18.0 PPG and a Finals Championship…I think he deserves credit also.

    its got to be #21. ‘Nique, Primetime, Spahn, Sinkwitch, Kaiser. #21 was also worn by Jonathan Hill (leading receiver in Tech history until recently, despite playing in the 60s), Jonathan Smith, then Calvin Johnson, Jonathan Dwyer who wore 12 in HS chose #21 to honor Calvin Johnson and Charles Perkins did the same when he came to the flats (he has yet to prove he is worthy of the number, but he has 3 more years to do that). Heck at any other school #21 probably would have already been retired in football, but you’d have to finish 3rd in the Heisman race as a freshman(highest ever by an underclassman at the time) and then enlist and subsequently give your life fighting for your country to get your number retired alongside Clint Castleberry’s #19.

    You can certainly make the argument for #44 but its not like anything great is expected of Snelling who wears if for the falcons. You can make the same argument about Chris Owens who currently wears #21, but on the flats (Georgia Tech campus for those unaware) whoever is wearing #21 is expected to be great, and it’s retired in pretty much every other sport of significance.

    For Baltimore … There is no slam-dunk answer. Obviously 19 for John Unitas, also worn by Dave McNally for the Os. 5 for Brooks Robinson and now Joe Flacco. 8 for Cal Ripen and SBXXXV winning QB Trent Dilfer. 33 for Eddie Murray and Earl Monroe and Priest Holmes. 7 for Bert Jones and Mark Belanger. You also have to consider 52 for Ray Lewis. This is actually my order of consideration. I would go with 19. I would also nominate 19 for the most unique, sport-centric great # in sports. Other than a few fans in San Diego or Dallas, and maybe Cleveland, 19 IS John Unitas. Lots of greats wore 32, 12, 33, 16.

    “I would also nominate 19 for the most unique, sport-centric great # in sports.”

    I disagree. I think that honor goes to 99 for Gretzky. How many other great athletes wore 99? Warren Sapp is the only other one I can think of. 19 was also worn by Lance Alworth, Tony Gwynn, Steve Yzerman, Bob Feller, Willis Reed, Joe Sakic, Bernie Kosar, Lenny Wilkens, Don Nelson, Billy Pierce, and Mikael Renberg. Hardly unique.

    When any sports fan sees 99, they think of The Great One. 19 isn’t even in the same ballpark. It’s not even close. 99 IS Gretzky. The only number that arguably rivals 99 as the most unique, sport-centric great # in sports is 23, and we all know who that belongs to. However, 23 is a much more common number in all the major sports than 99.

    Seems like two different discussions.

    One is about a number (19) that seems to have the greatest number of outstanding players who wore it, not about how few great players wore it.

    The other is about a single number (99) than most instantly calls to mind one particular player.

    Apples and oranges, maybe?

    Footnote: Joe Namath wore #19 in high school because Unitas was his idol.

    Hmmm…this might have been the season to do it.


    “1951/52: The NBA widened the foul lane before the season in an attempt to slow George Mikan.”

    How many other great athletes wore 99? Warren Sapp is the only other one I can think of.

    A bit before my time but I vaguely recall some link Ricko, can you confirm?

    Yes, all he did was change the game (they widened the “key” because of him; you could look it up).

    Always thought the first thing the T-Wolves should have done was retire #99. Not to claim him, but simply to note his importance to basketball, and to basketball in Minnesota. Especially seeing as he was still alive at the time they were born.

    Of course, he WAS the first commissioner of the ABA so I suppose there are those in NBA circles think of him as a turncoat.

    On the other hand, if Mikan was “before your time” then I guess he doesn’t count.

    Ricko, not to mention Mikan was instrumental in getting Minnesota a team during the NBA’s late ’80s expansion.

    If the Hornets can retire Pistol Pete’s #7 for his contributions to the city, then the T’wolves can do the same for Mikan.

    Damn, this should be HERE.

    Hmmm…this might have been the season to do it.


    “1951/52: The NBA widened the foul lane before the season in an attempt to slow George Mikan.”

    If I was 6 foot 10 and played against guys who probably averaged 5 foot 8 in height, I would’ve changed the game too.

    And when Joe DiMaggio hit in 56 straight games and Ted Williams hit .406, there weren’t world class sprinters with jai alai baskets for gloves playing the outfield.

    Games change, but it doesn’t diminish the greatness of players in their own time, playing against their contemporaries.

    “Guys who played a long time ago weren’t any good.”

    I didn’t say Mikan’s opponents weren’t talented, I said they were smaller in stature. No matter how good of a basketball player someone is, you can’t ignore the incredible height advantage Mikan had over other players, who were undoubtedly shorter on average back then. I’ve actually read that the average height of an American male in the 1940’s was 5 foot 6. Mikan was 6 foot 10. Anyone with that kind of advantage would dominate their opponents regardless of those opponents’ skill levels.

    The average American male may have been shorter, but that doesn’t mean the NBA was populated by relative dwarfs.

    I should also point out that the “key” later was widened again, largely because of Wilt Chamberlain…and college basketball outlawed the dunk for a while, too, and the main target of that move was Lew Alcindor. We gonna take away from their careers, too?

    Although, you do point out one of the reasons basketball loses me. You can’t make yourself taller. If there were a game that involved picking a can of corn off a shelf, of course those born taller would have a unquestioned natural advantage.

    Average NBA player height in 1949-50 was 6’4. In ’07-08 it was 6’7. (Source: link.)

    Can’t find a source right now, but I believe there were three or four or more seven-footers Mikan played against in his NBA career.

    His height wasn’t so much an advantage as his athleticism unprecedented to his stature.

    Minnesota’s “number” — ugh. None of the top players from their respective teams match up number wise.

    The closest we can come to one common number is #10.
    Twins = Earl Battey & Tom Kelly
    Vikings = Fran Tarkenton
    Wild = Marion Gaborik
    T-Wolves = Wally Szczerbiak

    Another stretch might be #7
    Twins = Joe Mauer
    Vikings = Randall Cunningham
    North Stars = Neal Broten

    If you just go team by team:
    Twins = 3 (Killebrew) or 34 (Puckett)
    Vikings = 10, 81 (Page), 77 (Eller), or 70 (Marshall)
    T-Wolves = 21 (Garnett)
    Wild = ???

    I was thinking 10 is about as close as Minnesota could get.

    Also, Paul Giel wore #10 playing football for the Gophers.

    All-time is tough for Minnesota, but its probably 34 or 10. For the current teams, 7 is the most prominent number, worn by Christian Ponder, Derrick Williams, Matt Cullen, and that Joe Mauer guy

    No dispute at all.

    However, 17 and 33 could be part of someone’s argument, but they would lose in the end. This town will always hold John Elway above anyone else.

    No doubt it’s 7.

    2 is becoming much more popular in the little leagues (for obvious reasons).

    I still see a lot of 23. MJ made that number so famous across the board, and its still interesting to see it be a popular choice.

    Wonder about how Denver fans feel about #15? ‘Melo… now Tebow… hmmm. Any other interesting #15’s in Colorado sports history?

    For Indianapolis, I daresay it would be 18… Though there are those who still hold 31 in the highest regard.

    For Pittsburgh the obvious choice is #21, for Roberto Clemente and Michel Briere, two men who died far too young. The only other number that comes close would be Mario Lemieux’s iconic #66, and the more I think about it the closer that competition becomes. But no, it would still be #21, which gets some additional juice because it was also worn by Tony Dungy.

    New York is really tough. We’ve had a lot of all-time greats here in every sport but I really can’t think of a number worn by more than two or three New York all-timers. #1-20, off the top of my head, apologies in advance for whomever I forget…

    1 – Pee Wee Reese, Billy Martin, Mookie Wilson, Ed Giacomin
    2 – Derek Jeter, Brian Leetch
    3 – Babe Ruth, …who else? Pete Gogolak?
    4 – Lou Gehrig, Duke Snider, Mel Ott
    5 – Joe DiMaggio, Dennis Potvin
    6 – Wally Backman? Carl Furillo? Joe Torre?
    7 – Mickey Mantle, Rod Gilbert, Mel Hein
    8 – Yogi Berra, Bill Dickey, Gary Carter
    9 – Roger Maris, Clark Gillies, Adam Graves
    10 – Phil Rizzuto, Walt Frazier, Eli Manning, Fran Tarkenton, Rusty Staub
    11 – Mark Messier, Phil Simms
    12 – Joe Namath, Dick Barnett, Ron Darling
    13 – Don Maynard, Alex Rodriguez, Edgardo Alfonzo, Dave Jennings
    14 – Y.A. Tittle, Richard Todd
    15 – Gil Hodges, Dick McGuire, Earl Monroe
    16 – Frank Gifford, Whitey Ford, Dwight Gooden
    17 – Keith Hernandez, Carl Erskine
    18 – Darryl Strawberry, Don Larsen
    19 – Willis Reed, Bryan Trottier
    20 – Tommie Agee, Howard Johnson

    I guess 10 wins by default, at least amongst these.

    Uhh, that’s:

    14 — Gil Hodges, Y.A. Tittle, Richard Todd
    15 — Dick McGuire, Earl Monroe


    Can’t believe I forgot Munson. I don’t know about Starks; decent player but an all-timer? (Then again, Richard Todd?)

    Let’s extend for a few more numbers and we capture some all-timers:

    22 – DeBusschere, Clendenon, Bossy
    24 – Mays, Bradley

    You could include Ray Knight for 22; he was only here for a couple of years but did win World Series MVP. You could also make a case for Kevin McReynolds there.

    Rickey Henderson is another 24, along with Freeman McNeil and Darelle Revis.


    You should really list Devils and Nets numbers as well. Also, you left off a lot of Baseball Giant and Dodger players for some reason there’s also a bunch of NY numbers past # 20 that are retired like #41 for Tom Seaver, #32 Julius Erving, #39 for Roy Campanella, #56 for Lawrence Taylor, #73 Joe Kleco. Here are some other notables you missed:

    #1: Ray Flatly (Football Giants)
    #2: Leo Durocher
    #3: Drazen Petrovic, Ken Daneyko, Bill Terry, Harry Howell (Rangers), Bud Harrelson
    #4: Scott Stevens, Wendell Landner (Nets), Tuffy Leemans (Football Giants), Dolph Camilli, Lenny Dykstra
    #5: David Wright, Jason Kidd, John Olerud
    #6: Joe Gordon, Roy White,
    #7: Mel Hein (Football Giants)
    #9: Andy Bathgate (Rangers), Graig Nettles
    #11: Carl Hubbell
    #15: Thurman Munson, Red Ruffing
    #19: Jim Gilliam
    #20: Monte Irvin, Jorge Posada
    #21: Paul O’neil
    #22: Mike Bossey, Al Leiter, Roger Clemens, Don Clendenon,
    #23: John Williamson (Nets), Don Mattingly, Bobby Nystrom, Robin Ventura
    #24: Willie Mays, Bill Bradley, Walter Alston, Rickey Henderson
    #25: Bill Melchionni (Nets)
    #30: Martin Brodeur, Willie Randolph
    #31: Mike Piazza, Billy Smith, Dave Winfield
    #32: Julius Erving, Al Blozis (Football Giants), Elston Howard
    #33: Patrick Ewing
    #35: Mike Richter
    #36: Jerry Koosman, Don Newcombe
    #37: Casey Stengal
    #39: Roy Campanella
    #40: Joe Morrison (Football Giants)
    #41: Tom Seaver
    #42: Jackie Robinson, Mariano Rivera, Charlie Conerly (Football Giants)
    #44: Reggie Jackson
    #45: Tug McGraw
    #46: Andy Pettitte
    #49: Ron Guidry
    #50: Ken Strong (Football Giants)
    #51: Bernie Williams
    #52: Buck Williams (Nets)
    #53: Harry Carson
    #56: Lawrence Taylor
    #73: Joe Kleco

    I would think #3 or #4 is the most revered number from the NY area team in that the #3 has been retired by 5 teams and the #4 has been retried by 6 teams. And #3 and #4 were both worn by extremely popular player on the Mets (Harrelson and Dykstra.


    I think you took it too far in the other direction now…if there is only one player with the number, I think it doesn’t really qualify…also Wendell Ladner averaged 4 points in 25 games with the ABA NY Nets…his number is retired as he tragically died in a plane crash. That does not elevate him to the level of a sacred NY player.

    Steve D,

    I don’t see how that’s “too far”. Since 1930, The NY area has had 4 major league baseball teams, 3 major league hockey teams, 2 major league basketball teams and 2 major league football teams. That’s a lot of players and a lot of uniform numbers.

    Well the post was about sacred “numbers” not necessarily sacred players. For good or for bad Wendell Ladner’s number was retired by the Nets. I went back listed all the retired numbers from the 11 major league sports teams that have played in the NY area plus I added a lot very good/great players that played long stretches of time with a team or made a significant post-season contribution to the team.

    I guess you can quibble with John Olerud as he only played 3 years with the Mets.

    All of the numerology brings up something I have been thinking about for a while. I have always been more interested and knowledgeable about numbers in hockey than in baseball or football. For example, when I was a kid I knew the number of every player on the Red Wings, but I can’t remember knowing any Tigers or Lions by number, except for Barry Sanders. Even today I could probably come up with most of the Wings, but only three Tigers off the top of my head.

    My theory: because hockey is so fluid, with players moving around every position on the ice, the fan has to figure out numbers to know who is who, whether you are watching on TV or live. In baseball and football, it is relatively easy to figure a player out based on field position: the guy standing by third base is obviously Miguel Cabrera (ha!) and the QB is obviously Stafford–no uni-number middle step necessary. I’ve never been as big a basketball fan, but I think it’s closer to hockey, in that you rely on numbers more. However, it’s a little easier to tell with basketball players because you can see the players’ faces, and distinguish them by body type variance–you will never get the 1 and the 5 confused, for example.

    Does anyone else notice that you don’t really know numbers well even of a team of which you are an avid fan?

    I’ve never been a big hockey fan until 2008 when the Blackhawks started to get good. While watching the Blackhawks Stanley Cup run, I did have to learn the numbers for exactly the reason you cite.

    For football, though, you need to know the wide receiver and defensive numbers.

    Soccer and Football more or less assign numbers by position. In Soccer most goal keepers wear #1. #’s 7 and 10 are usually your scorers. We are all familiar with NFL number rules ( not too mention how prominent the uni numbers are ). But I do agree that Baseball is probably the one sport where player uni numbers don’t automatically come to mind….

    Minnesota is tough. But I think you should start with the best athlete in this dismal sports town’s history…..Kirby #34. For the Vikes it would have to be Herschel Walker and for the T-Wolves it is Mr. Eastbay Funk himself, J.R. Rider.

    Hmm, Arizona/Phoenix seems to favor 13.
    Kurt Warner,Steve Nash, Ray Whitney, maybe Jason Kubel if he does well.

    Is there a gallery of the Rangers throwbacks where you got those pictures? Love to see the backs to see how accurate they are and maybe recreate some for my website.

    Wisconsin considerers itself one large sports family, where everyone cheers for the teams in the state, no matter the city. The clear choice for Wisconsin is #4

    Paul Molitor (# retired)- link
    Sidney Moncrief (# retired)-
    Brett Favre (# will be retired)-


    “Wisconsin considerers itself one large sports family, where everyone cheers for the teams in the state, no matter the city.”

    Is not true. Especially in college ball (foot or basket). Just like all states, people have love for different sports teams based on their own history. I know plenty of Cubs and Bears fans who are native to the Great Fat North who refuse to root for their Wisco brethren.

    I don’t think you’d get many folks who follow Marquette giving much love to anybody from UW.

    Besides, up here 99 is reserved for Dick Trickle.

    Dave Dameshek had a similar concept a few years ago on his ESPN podcast. His version was selecting one single jersey – player, number, and style – to represent the entire city. For example, Pittsburgh was represented by the 1991 black #66 Lemieux, with the 1970’s #58 Lambert running a close second.

    Says something about who is in his audience that Clemente’s #21 didn’t make the top two.

    Not saying it’s wrong, just that the “you are who you are based on how old you were when _____ happened” theory is becoming ever more valid.

    I’m far from being a New Yorker, but I don’t get how Babe Ruth doesn’t get mentioned as the greatest New York sports figure (let alone Yankee) of all-time.

    Equally ridiculous is mentioning Jeremy Lin in any sports representative conversation who basically didn’t even play at all in the league until a month ago. Very telling of our nanosecond pop culture society these days.

    Jeremy played a bit last year, too:

    But yeah, it is too soon to consider him for a list like this.

    I was the one who mentioned him, but I was really kidding with that one. But Lin is a spontaneous mania such that I personally have only seen with maybe Gooden, Mark Fydrich and Fernando Valenzuela.

    If he ever leads the Knicks to a championship, which is not totally far-fetched if he maintains this level, he immediately is on the list.

    I find it a bit odd that the hockey number would win that… I’d think the debate would be between a 70’s Steelers 12/58/32 or a slightly more modern Steelers 26.

    Even though Pittsburgh’s a Steelers town first, it’s Clemente’s 21 or Lemieux’s 66. Nothing else comes close.

    This is a good one and I have a not so obvious one for Chicago, everyone would assume Bulls 23 would be it but Jordan wasn’t ever really a representative of Chicago and it’s people. He didn’t fit the mold of Chicago blue collar, the choice for me and one I would bet would win a vote if taken, Bears 34 Payton.

    Tampa Bay really doesn’t have anything. The Rays have only retired one number so far – #12 for Wade Boggs. The most prominent #12 on the Buccaneers is probably Trent Dilfer, but he did next to nothing in his time here. The Lightning have either Simon Gagne or Ryan Malone for #12.

    The Bucs have retired #63 for LeeRoy Selmon, but that doesn’t really translate to anything for either of the other teams. The Lightning have not retired any numbers yet.

    I would have to say 26 for Tampa, even with our relatively short history of successful teams.

    Bucs: Dwight Smith – two pick-sixes in SB XXXVII link

    Lightning: Martin St. Louis – link

    Rays: Scott Kazmir – former franchise all time win leader wore 26 between wearing 57 and 19 link

    Bucs: Dwight Smith — two pick-sixes in SB XXXVII

    Bah! Those pick sixes were both in garbage time when the game was all but over and the Raiders were in pure desperation mode. Hardly makes him a great player.

    Mr. Jeff, the first one was the middle of the third quarter and made it 34-3. Yes, the second one was the capper on the blowout and came with mere moments left in the game. BUT we in Tampa have only a handful of successful moments across our brief sports history. I tried to pick something. He’s certainly the weakest of the three 26s.

    Among other good Tampa Bay athletes, Longoria wears 3, Freeman 5, Lecavalier 4, Derrick Brooks was 55, Alstott 40, Brad Richards 19… all across the map.

    Do you have a better number suggestion?

    No, I don’t really have any better suggestions…I’m just an angry Raiders fan who broke things while watching that game on TV.

    But really, Smith didn’t exactly do anything to warrant being a “legend” or whatever. He played in Tampa for just 4 seasons and was pretty much just an average player. That Superbowl was such a fluke… it’s pretty easy to dominate a game when your head coach designed the other team’s offense.


    You could make a case for #14 in Tampa Bay:

    David Price (link)

    Brad Johnson (link)

    Tatu (link)

    and, um, John Tucker I guess? (link)

    Also, Johnny Vander Meer wore #41 when he managed the Tarpons (link)

    …You could throw in Vinny Testaverde?? Jack (“The Thrownin’ Samoan) Thompson??…nah…

    99 or 55 come to my mind immediately (Sapp, and Brooks).

    I don’t think all sports towns have sacred numbers yet, and I believe Tampa is one of those towns at the moment, and its based purely out of lack of history to draw upon. I mean for sacred numbers their shouldn’t be any kind of debate there should be a handful of numbers that are considered great right off the bat to people from that area, some places you can make the case for 2 or 3 numbers but if your argument is weak for nearly all numbers suggested then there is no “sacred number” at least not yet.

    Another interesting sidebar to the best number in each city could be what number was the biggest in one city at one time.

    Yeah, you’re right, the Texas throwbacks look great FROM THE WAIST UP.

    Good sleuthing to figure they based those thin pants stripes on a baseball card which APPEARED to have a powder blue uni.

    Reminds me of a cheap California Golden Seals replica I saw years ago, of their two-year 1974-1976 TEAL design with football-like shoulder stripes. Only problem was that the replica was way more green, almost like their previous Charles Finley-era green. And I knew exactly where they got it from. Several of the Topps hockey cards of that era showing the teal uniforms had bad color rendering, making them look greenish. LAZY!!!!!


    “the … throwbacks look great FROM THE WAIST UP”

    And that right there, says the absolute sorry state of baseball’s uniforms today in a nutshell.

    I wonder if there are folks out there who still maintain that tennis players looked better in trousers.

    And that PGA players not wearing plus-four is just…disturbing.


    I think, honestly, that like it or not we have seen that same kind of shift in the “standard” MLB paradigm. Long pants are here, and I don’t see them going anywhere.

    If we’ve learned anything about baseball’s history, is that socks/stirrups/pants/uni trends go in cycles. This long pants horseshit won’t last forever, and eventually if it takes a few generations or two, order will be restored. If BFBS (the strongest sports fashion trend ever) can be put into remission, there is hope. Of course nobody said it was going to be easy.

    Long pants, like Bud Selig – they will die eventually.

    And that ain’t all bad. With the color the stirrups brought now all but gone, the colored jerseys do help. Without them…whoa.

    Doesn’t mean I’d like to see teams in mono red or something. Talk about looking like softball teams of the ’40s and ’50s.

    Maine General Hospital…

    Washington DC- my pick is number 11.

    Nationals- Ryan Zimmerman (clearly the face of the franchise since they moved)
    Wizards/Bullets- Elvin Hayes (72-81 won bullets only title in 78, retired number hanging in the rafters)
    Capitals- Mike Gartner: RW, 1979—1989, Retired December 28, 2008. Number hanging in the rafters
    Redskins- Mark Rypien, Super Bowl XXVI MVP

    MY thoughts for DC are:

    9, 44, or 28.

    But then again, I’m a bigger football guy than anything else.

    (I like your method too, it would be hard for me not to include those I mentioned somehow)

    11 is about the best pick for DC. Honorable mention to 33 for Frank Howard and Sammy Baugh, though 9 gets you Hondo, Sonny and Teddy Ballgame.

    As far as Washington #11s go, can’t forget link:


    Probably the only one-term president who’d have his number retired, if we retired presidents’ numbers.

    #9 also gives you Jaime Moreno and Mia Hamm.

    My question about # 11 for Washington is that, in DC, the Redskins take priority – there’s the Redskins and there there’s those other teams. Granted, Mark Rypien was a Super Bowl MVP, but when you think of the Redskins, any fan will come up with a heck of a lot of names before they mention Rypien. That said, I can’t find a better option than # 11.

    For Detroit #3 has had some notable players: Marcel Pronovost (Red Wings HOFer), Alan Trammell (Tigers shortstop), Eddie Murray (Lions kicker) and for the Pistons, Ben Wallace.

    Number 5 has been pretty good here too. Hank Greenberg (Tigers HOFer) and Nick Lidstrom (future Red Wings HOFer).

    Number 11 was worn by Sparky Anderson and Isiah Thomas. Bill Laimbeer and Henrik Zetterberg donned the number 40.

    Other Detroit notable numbers include 9 (Howe), 19 (Yzerman) and 20 (Sanders) but I can’t think of any other great Detroit athletes with the same numbers.

    Easy answer for San Diego – 19. Tony Gwynn, Lance Alworth. HOF players and people, both pretty much universally adored down here. Only other one I’d think is even close is 21 (Tomlinson and Caminiti).

    Exactly. If it ain’t a “no-brainer” then the city probably doesn’t have one.

    The moment “digging” is required the cause is pretty much lost.

    Syracuse-#22 lacrosse stars Gary Gait, Charlie Lockwood, Casey, Ryan and Mike Powell

    Not sure that trumps the 44 of Jim Brown, Ernie Davis, Floyd Little and Larry Csonka.

    You’re right.
    What # did Jim Nance wear?
    Don’t usually go blank on things like this, but am on his one.
    Was he, like, #39 or something?

    Topic: sacred numbers. Here’s another for Seattle.
    10: Jim Zorn. Not the best QB we’ve had but the first and most beloved.
    Sue Bird. Babe in a total athletic way.
    Nate McMillan. Beloved Sonic player and coach but lost favor when he left for the Dark Side (The state of Oregon and those whiney Portland bastards. Seattle WA cant stand anything Oregon. They whine too much and you cant even pump your own gas there. Sonic fans will never be Blazer fans)

    Because I don’t have the time to look it up right now, I issue a challenge. Is there any city that has the same retired number in more than one sport?

    Damn, just answered my own query Detroit-style. Sparky Anderson and Isiah Thomas (11), Chuck Daly and Charlie Gehringer (2), Hal Newhouser and Bob Lanier (16), Dennis Rodman and Alex Delvecchio (10) & Ted Lindsay and Dutch Clark (7). Interesting to note that Detroit has two coaches with retired numbers.

    Philly has only three that were officially retired by the teams. The Flyers retired #1 for Bernie Parent, and the Phillies #1 for Richie Ashburn, the Sixers retired #32 for Billy Cunningham and the Phillies #32 for Steve Carlton, and the Eagles retired #15 for Steve Van Buren, which the Sixers retired for Hal Greer.

    There’s also 99, which the Eagles retired for Jerome Brown and the NHL retired for Wayne Gretzky, but that’s not exactly a “Philly” retirement, so I don’t count that.

    If you count the “unofficial retirement” of Moses Malone’s #2, that will overlap with the Flyers’ retirement of Mark Howe as of about 7:00 PM tonight, and the Eagles have unofficially retired Brian Dawkins’ #20 (per Jeffrey Lurie’s public quote), which the Phillies retired for Mike Schmidt.

    Otherwise, Philly has a lot of one-shot retirements. Across all sports, we’ve retired 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 13, 14, 15, 16, 20, 24, 32, 34, 36, 40, 42 (Jackie Robinson, so that doesn’t really count), 44, 60, 70, 92, and 99.

    Unofficially, the teams have retired 2 (Moses Malone), 12 (Randall Cunningham), 20 (Brian Dawkins), and 31 (Pelle Lindbergh).

    well, I sure like the 1972 Rangers look- terrific.

    Meanwhile, SF sacred #’s begin and end with 16/80 in football and 24/44 in baseball.

    “well, I sure like the 1972 Rangers look- terrific.”


    except that’s not the year they’re throwing back to (on the powder blues) — do you mean the white uni?

    The topic is most sacred not most used by famous athletes….That being the case without a doubt Seattle’s number is 80…..STEVE LARGENT!!!!!!!!!

    Chicago Bulls player who wore #23?! C’mon now! Everybody in Chicago knows that’s Mike Bratz (1982-1983)….. ;-)

    He wore it for the Cavs, too, the year before that.

    I was half joking once when I said Dan Gilbert should retire the #23 for the Cavs…but after they raise the number to the rafters, they’d pull off the nameplate cover to reveal either Mike Bratz’ or Tyrone Corbin’s name.

    Seattle.. #19-Jay Buhner. #51 Randy Johnson and Ichiro. 24 Ken Georgetown, Jr. 96 For Cortez Kennedy. 80 For Steve Largent and Jerry Rice. #40 for Susan Kemp, 20 for Gary Patron. All great players, even though mime of the numbers match up.

    I respectfully disagree with #10 for Montreal. Despite the fact Lafleur, Staub and Dawson wore it with pride, the most sacred number in Montreal has, is and always will be #9 for Maurice Richard. He was Godlike, especially for French Canadians. The 1955 so-called Richard Riot was as much a cultural event as it was hockey-related. This, from the Wikipedia entry on Richard:

    Admiration for Richard and the Montreal Canadiens was the main plot point of the popular heritage story “The Hockey Sweater”, originally published in 1979 by native Quebecker and acclaimed author Roch Carrier.,as well as its 1980 National Film Board of Canada adaptation, The Sweater.

    The Canadiens #9 is as sacred as a jersey gets in sports.

    Hey, I went to McGill, so I know all about Rocket’s #9. But I was just trying to illustrate the exercise. By all means, if Marquis Grissom would have had more time with the Expos…

    Phil, I get that you didn’t fix my Robbin (Robin) Ventura spelling, but you can’t fix my “can;t”? Come on, I look like the idiot I actually am, help a brother out! haha

    Pittsburgh I would have to go with 21 for the aforementioned reasons (although it is CLEARLY Clemente’s number), though a strong case can be made for 33. For the Pirates, it’s the number Honus Wagner wore as a coach for the team (The Bucs, as with the rest of baseball, didn’t have jersey numbers when Wagner played.), and it is retired in his honor. The Steelers were founded in 1933, and have had several notable players wear 33, including link (who, to this day, is best known for his involvement in link), link, and current back link. (I could also make a case for McKeesport, PA native and fellow Youngstown State alum link, but aside from returning an interception for a touchdown against the Browns in 2004 and claiming a Super Bowl ring the following season after being placed on IR, he really didn’t do anything.) I can’t think of anyone notable wearing 33 for the Penguins, but outside of sports link.

    58 is getting up there as well. I keep mistaking link for link.

    Could be mistaken, but I don’t think the Pirates ever used a striped batting helmet to match their three different pillbox hats. Odd, that.

    Indeed, they did not.
    Pretty sure only the Cardinals striped their hard hats, too.

    In fact they stuck with gold helmets a couple years after dropping the gold caps in ’85.

    Arthur Wharton still God at 16.05 GMT.

    Ireland tied France 17-17 in Six Nations rugby match in Paris. Exciting game, it is said. Great uni visuals, especially if green and blue are your favorite colors.

    Actually I’m God and have an ID to prove it. Well, maybe it’s not a government issued ID, but I really don’t think I need an ID. This Wharton person is starting to piss me off, so I might need to look him up.

    Keep tense, but don’t panic.

    For Pittsburgh, 21 is clearly Clemente’s number, and there is a strong case for it. But 33 is equally as important. It was Honus Wagner’s number with the Pirates when he became a coach. (The Bucs, like the rest of baseball, didn’t have jersey numbers when Wagner played.) But the Steelers were founded in 1933. Several notable players for the Steelers, including Frenchy Fuqua, Merril Hoge, and Issac Redman, have worn (or in Redman’s case, currently wears) number 33. I can’t think of anyone for the Penguins of note that wore number 33, but the number has its link in Pittsburgh. 58 is starting to approach it, too. I keep thinking Kris Letang is link

    There’s a certain #33 you left off:

    21 is still the number to beat in the ‘Burgh, though.

    Rolling Rock is a New Jersey beer now. To confuse the issue further, Iron City is now contract-brewed at the old Rolling Rock brewery in Latrobe.

    South Florida’s most sacred uni number is a tough one…

    I guess it would have to be Dan Marino’s #13, since there are not a lot of great players who wore the same number with the other, still relatively young pro sports franchises down here. Dan’s #13 is revered by Dolphins fans and was psuedo-retired by Pat Riley and it is up in the rafters(sort of, it’s on the wall) at the AmericanAirlines Arena.

    As for multiple notable guys wearing the same number, here’s the best I could come up with:

    #1: Luis Castillo(Marlins), Roberto Luongo(Panthers), Chris Bosh(Heat)
    #3: Dwyane Wade(Heat), George Best(Fort Lauderdale Strikers)
    #4: Jay Bouwmeester(Panthers), Ray Hudson(Strikers)
    #9: Stephen Weiss(Panthers), Jay Fiedler(Dolphins)
    #10: Tim Hardaway(Heat), David Booth(Panthers), Teofilo Cubillas(Strikers)

    Also, in a related subject, in the latest move of classless contempt for their history as the Florida Marlins, the team recently un-retired number 5, which was set aside to honor original team president Carl Barger who died before the team began play(his favorite player was Joe DiMaggio). I sincerely doubt Logan Morrison is important enough to disrespect the man who helped bring Major League Baseball to South Florida.

    Good for the Marlins. How do you retire a number for a guy that never even wore it? Put his name in a ring of honor, mimic the Bears & put his initials on your jerseys or whatever… But if he didn’t wear the number it shouldn’t be retired for him.

    That’s another option.

    Even with all of the modern day corporate naming BS, it could still be “Carl Barger Field at (Corporate Sponsor Name) Stadium”.

    I guess it would have to be Dan Marino’s #13, since there are not a lot of great players who wore the same number with the other, still relatively young pro sports franchises down here.

    Marino wasn’t the only great Dolphin to wear #13. Jake Scott wasn’t exactly a slouch.

    For the Ducks. 0. The number on the helmet that matches the teams collective GPA. And the number of times they have won a national title.

    The Ducks have won multiple championships, just not in football or basketball.

    Don’t be a troll.

    Toronto: Any number would have to have featured prominently in Leafs history. 27 is the only one that really comes to mind, for a long line of players including Mahovlich, Sittler, um, Corson…Kordic? Okay; it goes downhill in a hurry. Neither the Jays nor the Argos have any number that screams “iconic” (though you might make a case for Dave Stieb’s 37 in a baseball-only context).

    Vancouver: No freakin’ idea.

    Bogus Jeremy Lin Analogy:

    I have heard several times that 8 Presidents have come from Harvard and only 4 NBA players, thus it is more likely for a Harvard grad to become President than an NBA star.

    However, the Presidency has been available for 220 years and the NBA about 65…for the last 65 years, it is really the other way around. Since the NBA was formed, there have only been two presidents that attended Harvard. Going forward, it may be about equal.

    true, but there have only been a grand total of 44 presidents, at least until next january

    so 8/44 translates to (im not real good with math) but about 18%

    how many pro hoopsters have there been since the NBA began? thousands easily, if not more…and only 4 have made it to the NBA

    thus, i’d say it’s probably easier (simply in terms of open slots) to make the NBA for a harvard grad, but the chances (at least based on history) are that one has an 18% chance of becoming president with a degree from havard, but less that 1% (probably less than 1/10%) of making the NBA

    i have no idea what that means — will the next president or NBAer be from harvard? (romney has a joint JD/MBA from the big H) and obama has a law degree from the crimson…

    so…it’s probably safe to say the next president (either 44 or 45) will have a harvard degree…

    any harvard hoopsters on the horizon for the NBA?

    The 8/44 is calculating odds that a president will be from Harvard, not how likely a Harvard grad will be president. The correct math for probability is # of successes divided by total outcomes. Let’s assume that there have been X number of Harvard grads since 1946. The observed probability of a grad becoming President is 2/X….odds of playing in the NBA are 4/X. Nothing else matters in that calculation, so it has been twice as likely a grad will play in the NBA.

    Now if Lin eventually becomes president, you will have a real rarity…odds will be 8 over x squared.

    told you i’m not good with math

    but yeah…i kinda reversed the probability thing

    still, i think there are better odds that our next president will carry a degree from harvard than are the odds that the next class of the NBA has a guy with a harvard degree

    Phil, 44 is the wrong denominator in any case. Only 43 individuals have been president, but that’s the wrong number too. First, we’ve had 56 presidential elections. Since we’re dealing with chances here, each election is a chance. (2012 will be our 57th presidential election.) Further, since any vice president can become president unexpectedly, and many have, you also have to count chances for the vice president. Thanks to the 25th amendment, vice presidents can come to office without having been elected. We’ve had 2 unelected veeps, which brings that up to 58 chances so far.

    So the denominator starts with 114, and goes up if you want to consider major-party nomination, not merely actual election, as an opportunity.

    Umm.. JFK (HCollege), GWBush (HBusiness), BObama (HLaw). MRomney, God help us, is both HLaw and HBusiness.

    Toronto can prove to be near impossible, since the Leafs and the Jays don’t retire numbers.. (3 numbers retired between the two) The Raptors I would argue haven’t really had anyone game-changing that didn’t whine their way out of town..

    So, between the Leafs, Argos and Jays, the closest seems to be 7. It falls apart when most of the 7s for the Jays you would rather forget..

    So here’s the list as is so far

    Leafs- King Clancy
    Tim Horton
    Argos- Condredge Holloway
    Joe Theismann
    Jays – Damaso Garcia?
    Shannon Stewart?
    Josh Towers??

    Andrea Bargnani wears #7 for the Raptors – I’d put him ahead of Josh Towers in terms of popularity.

    Yeah, so he could be the Raptors 7.. Which of those would you pick for the Jays?

    Uni-notable moment I noticed while watching NASCAR race coverage – Dave Blaney, driver of the #36 car and Ohio native, has Ohio State buckeye merit decals on his racing helmet. Not sure if he uses them as an actual merit decal or just for decoration, but thought it was noteworthy.


    I had not thought of numbers and a city so today was fun seeing different teams from each city.

    I used to know players numbers a lot better when I was younger.

    It’s interesting that Penn St. used to be pink and black. Apparently, Syracuse also had pink as its school color in the early days. I always thought that was so strange until I read that in the first part of the 20th century, pink was considered a masculine color, and blue feminine. And, then it switched around 1940. It was because pink is light red, and red is powerful and manly. I guess they then figured out that wearing pink made you look like a wuss.

    Kansas City’s sacred number: I think it’s a toss-up. What do we think?
    #16: Retired by the Chiefs for Len Dawson. (We’re talking Gehrig level here–Dawson was, is, and will always be THE ONE AND ONLY #16 the Chiefs will ever have.) Worn with distinction by Bo Jackson of the Royals.
    #10: Retired by the Royals for Dick Howser. Worn by a Hall of Famer, Tiny Archibald of the KC (pre-Sacramento) Kings. Relatively famously worn by Trent Green.
    What will it be?

    The lack of discussion of Chicago #s must mean they have spread the wealth pretty well there numberwise.

    When I was a kid I would look at a Cubs scorecard and notice which numbers were not currently issued, then, in my mind, pick out a number that I would wear if I was on the team. Weird kid? Of course.

    17 and 25 were usually available. I looked great in them in my mind film.

    What is each city’s most non-descript number of all time? That is the weird kid question.

    Never have the Cincinnati Bengals issued #1. No Curly Lambeau story, or “Fans are #1” BS–just, straight up, has never been issued.

    The New Jersey Devils do not issue #13, and rarely allow non-goalies to go beyond #30.
    Also, while the Habs issue #67; #68; and #76, they have only issued #77 once, for Pierre Turgeon. Weird. You’d think a Paul Coffey- or Raymond Bourque-loving defenseman would go for it. Also, the Habs have never issued #50.

    I can’t help but wish that the Devils had acquired Miroslav Satan, and given him either 13 or 6 (so that a jersey, folded and framed correctly, would display triple 6s).

    I didn’t see your request for each city’s most sacred number. I would have mentioned Syracuse and number 44.

    Ugh, as a Laker fan I’m so tired of them, and I never really liked them in the first place. They’re totally unnecessary, as their home golds are classic and awesome looking. To make matters worse, the “Sunday worsts” are always worn for the big games televised nationally Sundays on ABC, so they seem to contaminate my memory that much more. Thanks for nothing Jeanie Buss for coming up with this lame idea.

    Laker fan here. I have no problem with them since they’re only worn on Sunday home games, Christmas, and Easter. And you should count your lucky stars that they don’t go with link.

    Ha, those would be truly atrocious. Hide them somewhere before anyone gets any big ideas.

    Seattle, Shawn Springs for #24, not any mention of Tom “ASG MVP” Chambers?!?!?!

    Thinking of a number representative of my city is somewhat difficult. In St. Louis, the Rams have been here coming up on 2 full decades, but the only numbers that stand out are 13 (Warner), 28 (Faulk), 80 (Bruce), and Holt (88, 81). I’m not old enough to have been around while the Gridbirds were in town, but I don’t get the sense that they were good enough for long enough to have any sort of trend. They had some solid players in Roger Wehrli (24), Jim Hart (17), Jackie Smith (81), and Dan Dierdorf (72), among others, but that’s a pretty limited list.

    The Blues have had some excellent players over the years, but I suspect the number most identified with them by casual fans and people outside the city is the #16 Brett Hull wore for so many years. That and, I suppose, the #99 Gretzky wore for 18 regular season games plus a typical Blues playoff “run.” Bernie Federko wore #24, same as Wehrli, but I’m not sure that’s significant enough.

    That leaves the Cardinals, as the Hawks are a distant memory for this town, and college sports are relatively non-existent. Up until 3 months ago, #5 would’ve been a shoo-in for this “contest.” But now it comes down to Ozzie Smith’s #1, Lou Brock’s #20, Bob Gibson’s #45, Red Schoendienst’s #2 (also worn by the Blues’ Al MacInnis); my vote, however, would be for #6. Stan Musial played his entire career in St. Louis and has remained a fixture in this community even after he retired nearly 50 years ago.

    I would think Musial is the choice overall for St. Louis, Pujols might have been in the running before he chose to leave the Cards.

    “Leafs- King Clancy Tim Horton
    Jays —Damaso Garcia? Shannon Stewart? Josh Towers?”
    I guess it would depend which era you watched the Maple Leafs, for me its 93-Doug Gilmour 17-Wendal Clark.
    And Blue Jays 29-Joe Carter

    Of course it’s easy to pick the iconic numbers for each team individually.. I mean for the Jays you have three instantly..

    37 Stieb
    12 Alomar
    29 Carter

    But I was going along with the city-wide concept brought up in today’s post..

    So based on that, Joe Carter and Felix Potvin make a pretty good #29-in-the-early-90’s tag team. I think that is as interesting as it gets for TO though, since the Jays are young, relative to the Leafs, with only one HOF’er to boot. Plus, the Raptors have even less history.

    “I’d nominate #24 in Seattle, for Ken Griffey, Jr., Dennis Johnson, and Shawn Springs.”
    I would also add #24 “Beast Mode” and “Mrs. Skittles” Marshawn Lynch

    New Orleans checking in. This City/Number question is truly a hard one here.

    Saints? Rickey Jackson #57 – arguably the best Saint ever until Drew Brees, and certainly a truly great player with the longest tenure of production in Saints history. Archie Manning #8 – many, many hard years. A franchise layer without a franchise. Drew Brees – #9 – the only true “Winner” we have ever had lead us … Any RB’s? No way. Duece McAlister was great, but who can even tell us his number (#26). Saints RB’s were almost always by committee – particularly during any winning year.

    NBA Jazz? Maravich – but he split wearing #44 and #7 during his Jazz years.

    NBA Hornets? – Maybe Chris Paul’s #3, but you can not honor a guy that selfishly abandons the team and bails four years into his career …

    Any nominees? I see a large group of almost honorees, but no clear winner. I’m stumped.

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