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Double-Deuces Wild: The 22 Best Players to Wear No. 22

Good morning! Today is a special day on the calendar: 2/22/22. With that in mind, I’ve put together my picks for the 22 greatest players to wear the double-deuce — No. 22.

Before we get started, a few notes and ground rules:

• If a player briefly wore No. 22 at some point in his career but was known more for wearing some other number(s), that doesn’t count, at least to me. So while it’s true that, for example, Rickey Henderson, Gaylord Perry, and Mike Schmidt all had cups of coffee wearing the double-deuce, I didn’t consider them for this list.

• In a few instances, which I’ll explain when they come up, I chose a player based more on aesthetics than on performance. After all, this is Uni Watch.

• I was surprised by how few all-time greats have worn No. 22. Definitely not a number that’s been smothered in glory over the years!

Okay, enough preliminaries. Here are my picks for the best (or at least most uni-notable) No. 22s in each of the Big Four pro leagues. In each case, my top pick is shown in the center, flanked by the runners-up; for each photo collage, you can click to enlarge.


In the center, my top pick, is Jim Palmer — Hall of Famer, three-time Cy Young winner, four-time Gold Glover, and a lot more. Naturally, his No. 22 is retired by the Orioles.

The runners-up, clockwise from top left:

• Andrew McCutchen: Cutch has gone from star to journeyman with alarming speed, but he did win the 2013 National League MVP Award while wearing No. 22, so that’s enough for me.

• Clayton Kershaw: Cooperstown-bound. Nuff said.

• Roger Clemens: Yeah, he was a juicer, and he was arguably known more for wearing No. 21. But he won two Cy Youngs while wearing No. 22 — one with the Astros and one with the Yankees — so I’d say that qualifies.

• Jason Heyward: Not an elite player, but I’m including him because he looks like an elite player. In fact, in my book there is no other big leaguer who looks better in a uniform than Heyward.



In the center, my top pick, is Emmitt Smith — Hall of Famer, all-time NFL rushing leader, 1993 MVP, 1990 Offensive Rookie of the Year, and a lot more. The definition of a durable downhill runner.

The runners-up, clockwise from top left:

• Derrick Henry: Two-time NFL rushing leader and one of the eight players ever to rush for more 2,000 yards in a season.

• Bobby Layne: Hall of Fame quarterback from the days when signal-callers were allowed to wear the double-deuce.

• Paul Krause: Hall of Fame defensive back who nobody remembers anymore.

• Roger Wehrli: Hall of Fame defensive back who nobody remembers anymore.



In the center, my top pick, is Elgin Baylor — Hall of Famer, 11-time All-Star, 1959 Rookie of the Year, member of the NBA 35th-, 50th-, and 75th-anniversary teams, and arguably the single best player featured in this blog post.

The runners-up, clockwise from top left:

• Michael Redd: Not an elite player, but I’m including him because he’s one of the relatively few NBA players to wear a captain’s “C.”

• Clyde Drexler: Hall of Famer, 10-time All-Star, and a lot more. His No. 22 has been retired by both the Trail Blazers and the Rockets.

• Larry Nance: Generally considered one of the best players in Suns history, although it’s the Cavs who retired his No. 22.

• Dave DeBusschere: Hall of Famer, eight-time All-Star, and the Knicks have retired his No. 22. But the real reason I’ve included him here is that his NOB looks so great in that vertically arched treatment.



In the center, my top pick, is Mike Bossy — Hall of Famer, tied with Wayne Gretzky for the most 50-goal seasons, and the Islanders have retired his No. 22. Injuries cut his career short, but he was a key component of the Isles’ glory phase.

The runners-up, clockwise from top left:

• Steve Shutt: Hall of Famer, played on five Cup-winning Canadiens teams.

• Willie O’Ree: Trailblazing pioneer who was the first Black player in NHL history. His No. 22 was finally retired by the Bruins just last month.

• Rick Tocchet: Four-time All-Star. Solid, durable player.

• Daniel Sedin: Three-time All-Star. Played his entire 18-season career with the Canucks, who have retired his No. 22. Not yet a Hall of Famer, although that could soon change.


So those are my picks — five players apiece for each of the Big Four pro leagues. But that adds up to just 20 players. Obviously, we need two more. And here they are:

At the top is Doug Flutie — probably not the best college football player to wear No. 22, but arguably the most memorable, thanks to his 1984 Hail Mary pass. Below him is three-time Daytona 500 winner and NASCAR Hall of Famer Bobby Allison, who was my favorite auto racer when I was growing up.

And there you have it: 22 No. 22s — a double-deuce of double-deuces! Obviously, you’re free to disagree with my picks (I’m sure there are lots of worthy players I overlooked). Which No. 22s would you choose? And what about 22s from other sports?

Since we’ll never get this chance again, here’s some additional double-deuce trivia:

• The 22nd state to join the union was Alabama, in 1819.

• The 22nd U.S. president was Grover Cleveland (who was also the 24th president).

• The 22nd amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1951, limits how often a person can be president.

• 22º Fahrenheit is -5.55º Celsius; 22º Celsius is 71.6º Fahrenheit.

• Uni Watch is currently 22 years old.

• The number 22 always makes me think of this movie scene:

Finally, on a personal note: Feb. 22 is also the date of my parents’ wedding anniversary. (If my father were still alive, they’d be celebrating 74 years together today.) They chose that date because it was Washington’s Birthday — Presidents Day didn’t yet exist — and they figured their anniversary would always be a holiday so they’d always have the day off. That all went out the window with the advent of Prexy Day, but I still love the story. Happy anniversary, Mom and Pop.

(Big thanks to Phil for suggesting today’s topic.)

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• • • • •

Click to enlarge

Too good for the Ticker: It’s not every day that you see a football player posing with a chainsaw! That’s Peter Dalla Riva of the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes, repping Homelite chainsaws. But the reason the ad is particularly uni-notable is the red outlines on the uni numbers, which the Alouettes didn’t actually wear on the field. So Dalla Riva was apparently wearing a prototype for that print ad — very cool!

(Big thanks to Johnny Garfield for this one.)

• • • • •

• • • • •

The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: The full set of MLB spring training caps has now been revealed (from David Goodfriend). … UNC is outfitted by Nike/Jordan/etc., but were their ballplayers wearing The Game caps the other day? (From Jeff Long.)

Football News: Disappointing news out of Seattle, as Seahawks prexy Chuck Arnold says the team will not have throwbacks next season, in part due to retail production issues. Tail, dog, etc. (from Rob Weber). … New uni number assignments for UNC (from James Gilbert).

Hockey News: The PHF’s Minnesota Whitecaps wore pride jerseys on Saturday (thanks, Jamie). … Newly acquired G Andrew Hammond made his Canadiens debut Sunday night. “He had a new Montreal mask but was still wearing his forest green pads and gloves from the AHL’s Iowa Wild,” notes eagle-eyed Wade Heidt. … Here’s a video report on the designers behind the Whalers’ old “WH” logo (thanks to all who shared). … Holy moly, look at this amazing hockey mural, for a video about the wreckage of Berlin in the aftermath of Germany’s surrender in WWII (from Jeff Wilk). … Canucks LW J.T. Miller was apparently using one of teammate Bo Horvat’s sticks last night (good spot by Iain McHugh).

Basketball News: Here’s the logo for next season’s NBA All-Star Game, which will be in Utah (from Ian Lee). … New Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center-themed uniforms for the D League’s Iowa Wolves. … New retro-themed alternate for NC State women’s (from Rex Henry). … Indiana and Ohio State men’s went red vs. black last night (thanks to all who shared).

Soccer News: New logo for FC Spartak Moscow (from Ed Zelaski and Kary Klismet). … Also from Ed: New kits for Norwegian side Tromsø IL. … Here’s a Lego version of Real Madrid’s stadium (from James Gilbert). … Leeds United wore warm-up shirts supporting the anti-sexism charity Her Game Too prior to Sunday’s game (thanks, Jamie). … New kits for Paraguayan side Club Guarani and Malaysian side Johor Darul Ta’zim (from Kary Klismet).

Olympics News: That Taiwanese speed skater who wore a Chinese uniform in a pre-Olympic training video is now facing potential punishment. … The organizing committee for the 2024 Paris Olympics has posted a video explainer for their logo (from Kary Klismet).

Grab Bag: New kits for Australia’s Super Netball’s Melbourne Vixens and New South Wales Swifts (thanks, Jamie). … Also from Jamie: AFL Women’s Indigenous designs are out for Carlton, Fremantle, Brisbane, and the Western Bulldogs. … Some Gaelic games jerseys have unexpectedly shown up on the runway at a London fashion show (from Ed Zelaski). … Donald Trump’s new social media platform, Truth Social, launched yesterday and immediately faced a legal challenge over its logo, which is nearly identical to that of a British company. … Norwegian handball player Marit Bøyum, who wears No. 18, somehow lost most of her “1,” so the team’s equipment staff replaced it with white tape (from Roy Ellingsen). … New livery for the Alpine F1 team (from Kary Klismet).

Comments (99)

    I attended a Reds-Cubs game in Cincy a few years ago. I had not been following MLB closely. When the Cubs 22 came to bat (Jason Heyward), I was like, this dude is a physical specimen. Funny that Uni-Watch noted that he looked like an elite player.

    Paul, great job with the 22 22s! And the chainsaw ad is also a classic. Am I seeing things, or is there a big Alouettes logo on the *back* of the helmet (and nothing on the sides)? Was that their usual look back then?

    I can see why you say back based on that picture, it was actually at the front of their helmet

    The Alouettes wore that helmet with logo on the front and numbers on the sides for 1 season. 1974. They had switch to this new logo and dropped green uniforms with red trim in favour of blue with red trim.

    In 1975, the uniforms remained the same but the logo was moved to the side of the helmet.

    The old Auto-stade – the stadium Peter Dalla Riva is pictured in, a complete dump.

    I thought that was a great uniform for its simplicity. Also note the unusual placement of the logo at the front of the helmet, the Als moved away from that after a couple of years, haven’t seen it very much on other team’s helmets since then, until well the Washington Commanders.

    Great job on the 22’s! But here is the first complaint of the day as this old man yells at a cloud…no Christian McCaffrey? No love for my Panthers…it’s okay…we are used to it in Carolina.

    Love Uni-Watch and my family gets tired of my daily references to the uni world!!!

    All the best,

    Paul Scholes originally wore 22 with Manchester United before switching to 18 for most of his career.

    After he retired they gave 18 to Ashley Young, and when he came out of retirement he wore 22 for his last season.

    The font on Peter Dalla Riva’s Montreal Alouettes uniform is wrong too; they wore a one-color standard block font with serifs.

    I’d like 2 add Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice 2 the list of greats 2 wear the number 22. He finished 2nd in Heisman voting 2-times. The 22-yard markers in Kenan Stadium are blue in his honor.

    He certainly was not an all timer, but an honorable mention for those that once wore the 22 should go to Duce Staley for the late 90s/early 2000s Eagles. Too bad he didn’t spell it Deuce…

    Looks like the Jazz are previewing their new color scheme (black, white, gold) in that ASG 2023 logo.

    If performance was not the sole factor in this, then you missed an obvious won for football; Duce Staley.
    The name says it all. Sure he was never a superstar. But was a notable player during his career owing to being significant part of a pretty successful era of Eagles football.

    Bill Buckner wore 22 on his often dirty Cubs uniform. He sported the blue pinstripes at home and the nifty powder blues on the road. A gritty player, he led the National League in doubles twice, batting average, and at bats during his seasons on the North Side.

    His initials, BB, second letter of the alphabet, matched the 22 nicely, I think.


    Juan Soto may be the best 22 in MLB right now

    Also, John Cappaletti, 1973 Heisman winnee. He made block-slant 22 look good.

    Not a HOFer by any shot but certainly notable – Jonathan Tootoo wore 22 and he was born on 2/2.

    Came to the comments for this…Jordin Tootoo definitely “gets it”

    Same name/number synergy as Jim Otto wearing 00.

    In the vein of Bobby Allison, I would also add Joey Logano to the list of 22’s, current driver of the Penske 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford (driving it since 2013), winner of the 2015 Daytona 500 and 2018 NASCAR Cup Series Champion.

    Begrudgingly agree.

    I’ll add that Jeff Gordon probably would not have had anywhere near the success and influence he had if he stayed with Bill Davis Racing, where it’s very likely he would have piloted the 22.

    Whenever I think of 22 I immediately go to former Red Wing and Predator Jordin Tootoo. THE PERFECT NAME/NUMBER COMBO!

    I was asked for some soccer suggestions for this piece.

    Probably foremost, George Weah briefly wore 22 for Manchester City in 2000 (I didn’t realize that doesn’t count).

    His son Tim wears 22 for Lille in France as of this season and it’s also Tim’s link, which I didn’t know.

    My other suggestions among currently active players were Erin Cuthbert and Jude Bellingham. Like the leagues mentioned, there aren’t a lot of all-time greats that wore 22 and a lot of backup goalies sure did.

    In other soccer news relating to 22, US Soccer, today on 2/22/22 is paying $22 Million to the WNT for gender discrimination.

    My personal favorite number 22, my favorite MLB player from when I was a kid, and inspiration for my Uni-Watch Membership Card, Will Clark! The Giants are going to retire his number, should there be an MLB season this year.

    Good picks, Paul!
    I think of Bobby Allison as a 12 (he did win his Cup championship in the 22, but he never won any of his 3 Daytona 500’s in the that number).
    While I personally don’t care for him and his racing style, Joey Logano is probably the best Cup performer to ever drive the 22.
    Fireball Roberts may have been even more superior than both Logano and Allison had he raced into the start of the ‘modern’ era.

    Allison/Logano is tough for 22.
    Both won championships in the 22.
    Logano has more wins (25 – 17. Allison had more wins in the 12 with 25.) and races in the 22 (325 – 215)
    However, if you are looking for an iconic moment in NASCAR history, Bobby was in the 22 when he took down the catch fence at Talladega.

    For the spring training caps, I can’t figure out why the Giants cap has the little SF on the front when none of the other teams have anything like that.

    The mesh crown is a deal-breaker for me. I hope that feature is just for spring and doesn’t carry over into the batting practice caps.

    The SF on the Giants cap is not the only anomaly. Why do the White Sox, Cubs, Twins, and Cardinals have throwback logos, and most of the other teams have current alternate logos? (I suppose you could call the DBacks a throwback also, because they haven’t worn the D snake logo since I believe 2017 – although I don’t think 5 years constitutes a throwback)

    Only reason I can decipher is the “G” is from the Nike City Connect jersey-they used SF for caps in ’21. “G” isn’t used by Giants on any other gear, while all other MLB cap logos have been or are used.

    “Roger Wehrli: Hall of Fame defensive back who nobody remembers anymore.”
    Yep, playing college football for Mizzou and pro football exclusively for the St. Louis Cardinals will have that effect on a guy.
    For what it’s worth Wikipedia says that Wehrli had 22 recovered fumbles in his pro career.

    Love the lede! When I played basketball as a kid I was assigned #22. I remember looking through every basketball card I had trying to find the best #22 and it was Clyde Drexler. Thanks for dislodging that nostalgia!

    Lacrosse all-time legend Gary Gait made jersey number 22 famous at Syracuse (1987-1990) and professionally. The school retired his jersey (but not the number) at the Carrier Dome this past Sunday afternoon.

    John Cappeletti for Penn State (Heisman winner) wore 22 also.

    I LOVE Lost in America. One of my favorites. If you know, you know:

    “The Desert Inn has heart… The Desert Inn has heart…”

    “Shut up Brad, your song stunk, I hate your suit and I could hurt you!”

    “I’ve seen the future… it’s a bald man from New York!!!”


    Syracuse Men’s Lacrosse holds the #22 in high regard.

    Gary Gait is the GOAT that elevated the #22 jersey to legendary status at Syracuse. But, the Powell brothers certainly put in work to cement the status of the #22 in Orange lacrosse history.

    Mikey Powell was a human highlight reel at Syracuse and provided an amazing end to the run of Powell brothers wearing the #22.

    Interesting to note Doug Flutie may not make the CFL list per Paul’s rules as he did not wear 22 the majority of his CFL career.

    Wore 22 in his first two season with the BC Lions.


    He wore 20 when playing for the Calgary Stampeders and 2 with the Toronto Argonauts.

    Please include Gary gait. The greatest lacrosse player of all-time. There is now alos a legacy of the number as a result. This is a huge one

    Wasn’t Jim Brown the greatest lacrosse player? Or has he been surpassed?

    (I know nothing about lacrosse. Just parroting what I’ve always heard.)

    A few other notable 22s: Rolando Blackmon, Dallas Mavericks, had his number retired also. Andrew Toney, guard on the 1983 Sixer NBA champs. His nickname was “The Boston Strangler”. Bullet Bob Hayes, Dallas Cowboys WR and US Olympian. Dave Duerson, starter on the 1985 Bears defense went to four straight Pro Bowls.

    For NHL, Dino Ciccarelli… He wore 20 for his first eight seasons (in Minnesota) but 22 for the rest of his 19-season career: 1232 games, 608 goals, 1200 points, and a HOFer.

    Considered him, in part for his vertically arched NOB with the Red Wings. But his off-ice issues made him problematic, so I decided to go with Rick Tocchet instead.

    A few more 22s: Rolando Blackmon. His number was retired by the Dallas Mavericks; Bullet Bob Hayes, Super Bowl Champion with Dallas Cowboys, Hall of Famer and he won 2 gold medals in the ’64 Tokyo Olympics; Andrew Toney, won a title with the Sixers in ’83. Nicknamed “The Boston Strangler”.

    I still remember Roger Wherli and Paul Krause (and I’m mad at the Vikings for not retiring Paul’s number…*81* interceptions and he’s just another guy in your ring of honor???). They were my favorite players on those teams (well, Paul was my co-favorite with Fred Cox).

    Zeke Moore (#22) was my favorite Houston Oiler, until I became of fan of Skip Butler (#2). Dave DeBusschere was my favorite Knick. And yes, Jim Palmer is and will always be my favorite Oriole.

    Cyril Pinder was my favorite Chicago Bear for a short time. Bob Hayes was my favorite Cowboy. Doug Flutie was my favorite NJ General. Bill Buckner might be my favorite Cub (and those powder blue with white pinstripe uniforms are definitely my favorite Cubs unis).

    I don’t really know why, but in my younger days I really had a thing for 22, so today was an enjoyable post.

    Another NFL candidate — in fact, another COWBOYS candidate — Bullet Bob Hayes. Actually when I first saw the picture of Smith I thought it was Hayes for a brief second. (Possibly a function of my age and the fact that in Smith’s era I wasn’t watching much football.)

    Pro Football Hall of Famer and Olympic gold medalist Bullet Bob Hayes ought to be in the top 5 for the NFL.

    Another NFL candidate — in fact, another COWBOYS candidate — is Bullet Bob Hayes. I actually thought that’s who was pictured for a brief second, possibly because I didn’t watch much football in Smith’s time.

    (If this shows up twice I apologize, right now it looks like it disappeared.)

    Actually I think OSU’s uniforms vs. Indiana last night were a very dark gray. At least that’s what I like to tell myself, since gray is actually a school color and I hate BFBS. Still, I wish they wouldn’t wear those, they’re not a good look.

    Regarding Miller using Horvat’s stick- while it isn’t unheard of for one teammate to use another’s stick for some reason, I don’t think that is the case here. For one, Miller uses a different brand of stick than Horvat. Hockey players are famously finnicky when it comes to gear and most dread change when it comes to something as specific as the touch and feel of their stick. Along these lines, pictures show that Miller tapes the top of his stick quite differently than Horvat. Horvat has a rolled strand of tape for extra grip while Miller tapes a pretty big knob on the top. It is unlikely that Miller would take one of Horvat’s sticks, redo the tape job at the top, then Sharpie Horvat’s number on the tape. A more likely scenario is that Miller numbers his sticks. Lots of players do this. They will find a gamer that they really like the feel of and want to distinguish it from other sticks. They’ll use certain sticks in practice and save the gamer for games. I believe that is the more likely case here.

    A bit more niche, but 22 holds a special significance in lacrosse, similar to 10 in soccer (at least when I played in the early 2000’s). I believe the origin was Gary Gait at Syracuse?

    Anyways, 22 was always worn by the lead offensive play maker (who had the chutzpah to take all the pressure of the number as well).

    Bob “the world’s fastest human” Hayes wore 22 for the Cowboys.

    Paul Krause is the all-time pass interception leader so his name does come up.

    Dalla Riva is Peter’s full surname.

    I was born September 22, 1974, so I enjoyed the numerology in both today’s lead feature AND the Peter Dalla Riva ad.

    WNBA and Women’s college baseketball legend – Sheryl Swoopes.

    Also on the way to Texas Tech Lady Raiders winning their National Championship in 1993, Swoopes will ALWAYS hold the record of most points ever scored in a game at Reunion Arena – 53 points when Tech defeated Texas in the SWC title game.

    Thanks for devoting today’s entry to 22. This won’t mean much to anyone else, but I wore 22 when I played baseball and then my son was born on June 22 which forever solidified it as my favorite number. It’s also the number I went with on my Uni-Watch membership card!

    Fun topic, Paul! Hard to argue with that list of the best 22s. As a longtime Iowa resident, I know that Hawkeye fans would clamor for some recognition for Caitlin Clark, a current star on the women’s basketball team and National Player of the Year candidate who is already one of the program’s most accomplished players every despite being only a sophomore:


    My favorite hockey player, Brett Hull won his first cup wearing 22. People always think of him as 16 though.But at the time, in North Texas sports,22 was the number of Emmitt,Will Clark and Hull.

    Great post today, and great choices for hockey. My first thought for #22 was Mike Gartner who was the fifth player to score 700 goals. He wore 22 while with the NY Rangers.

    Thanks for the story of your parents, Paul. Today would have been my father’s 85th birthday. When they created Presidents’ Day and the Monday holiday, my father’s mother said to him, “Don’t worry Tommy. To me your birthday will ALWAYS been on February 22.”

    Re: Peter Dalla Riva, are we overlooking the fact that the best receiving tight end in the CFL was wearing number 74, a number those of us south of the border would relegate to interior linemen?

    Khris Middleton and Christian Yelich: two iconic Milwaukee 22’s (although Yelich has been in a rut since his injury)

    Great job, Paul.

    I will make the argument that DeBusschere’s vertically arched NOB, hand cut with small E and a long name, is the greatest looking NOB in sports history. If they even tried to recreate it today, it would probably be computer generated and artificial looking.

    Good 22 list, but IMO, one omission.

    Bob Hayes, who not only represented the United States in the 1964 Summer Olympics, but also went on to an 11-year Hall of Fame career with the Dallas Cowboys. If the Cowboys had honored Hayes properly, Emmitt Smith probably wouldn’t have had the option to wear No. 22. If the Cowboys didn’t want to retire the number, it could have been “officially inactive,” or some other silly euphemism.

    Nice pulls with Roger Wehrli and Paul Krause, but I think Hayes could be debated.

    Christian McCaffrey? Not yet … maybe a few more seasons like his first couple and people can stir the pot. But, until then …

    In the NHL, Jordin Tootoo was the perfect 22 for this list, though he doesn’t bump anyone off Paul’s list.

    Only reason I can decipher is the “G” is from the Nike City Connect jersey-they used SF for caps in ’21. “G” isn’t used by Giants on any other gear, while all other MLB cap logos have been or are used.

    Gotta go with Bobby Layne as a Detroit Lion where he won championships in 1952, 1953 and 1957. Not as a Steeler…


    I feel like that since Grover Cleveland was the 22nd President and then the 24th President, he should be considered the 22nd, and 24th should be McKinley. If he had successive terms he’d just be the 22nd President, so why do they change it if he’s a non-consecutive 2nd term president? Anyone else find this odd?

    Burt Reynolds in “The Longest Yard”, 1974 & 2005, as:

    #22 – QB -Paul “Wrecking” Crewe – Citrus State Prison Inmates

    #22 – TB -Nate Scarboro – Allenville State Prison

    Great Job on the #22’s!!! I just wanted to put in an “Honorable Mention” for a Dallas Cowboy who wore #22 prior to Emmitt Smith, “Bullet” Bob Hayes.

    Growing up a Lakers fan, I loved Baylor. I used to emulate his facial tick when shooting free throws, later hearing it was a form of tourette’s. 22 was favorite number growing up because of him.

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