The Guy Before The Guy #3: Guys Who Wore 41 And 51

Before Tom Seaver wore #41 for the Mets…

…That number was worn by left-hander Gordie Richardson.
1966 Topps Gordon Richardson
Aside from pitching in three seasons with the Cardinals and Mets, Gordie Richardson also pitched in two 1964 World Series games against the Yankees, a series that the Cardinals would win in 7 games. (I debated on whether I should mention Richardson’s 40.50 World Series ERA, or the fact that he gave up a grand slam to Joe Pepitone).

Other Mets players to have worn #41 include former Dodger Clem Labine (3 games in 1962), Grover Powell (1963), Dennis Musgraves and Jim Bethke (both 1965).


As hard as it may be to believe, before future HOFer Ichiro wore #51 for the Mariners…
2002 Topps Total Ichiro

…that number was worn by HOFer Randy Johnson!
1992 Stadium Club Randy Johnson

I started this post a while ago, and while I was double-checking my research as a step towards publishing, I realized that the last guy to wear #51 before Randy Johnson was a guy I’d included in Monday’s post:  Rey Quinones!

51 must have had some sort of personal significance for Quinones, because he also wore that number with the Red Sox and in a brief stint with the Pirates.

As it turns out, there were only four players to wear #51 for the Mariners, so I figured I may as well scan the forth guy… Bill Wilkinson.

One of the more interesting things about Bill Wilkinson is that he’s from Wyoming, and there aren’t many Wyomingans(?) in MLB history.  16, to be exact.  The most notable ones are Tom Browning, John Buck, Mike Devereaux, Dick Ellsworth, Mike Lansing and Dan Spillner.  Fun fact:  6 of the 16 Major Leaguers from Wyoming were born in Cheyenne.

Getting back to #51… If Wikipedia is to be trusted, no coaches or managers ever wore #51, so these four players are all of the 51’s in Mariner history… And I’d have to think that this will never change.  Ichiro is a sure-fire HOFer, so even if the Mariners never officially retire #51 (which I doubt), they’d probably never give out a number worn by two HOFers who established themselves in Seattle.

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2 thoughts on “The Guy Before The Guy #3: Guys Who Wore 41 And 51

  1. I remember Pepitone’s slam. We watched the Series games in school. I sure don’t remember Richardson as being the one who gave it up though. I would have taken a wild guess at Barney Schultz.

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