Favorite Athletes By The Numbers; Part 1, from 0 to 33

Not long ago there was a post at The Five Tool Collector which featured 9 players who wore #9. I started thinking about my own list of players who wore #9.  Soon,  my mind started wandering to other numbers and I thought it would be fun to see how far I could go making a list of my favorite athletes associated with each number (at least at some point in their career).

Just to emphasize, this is a list of MY FAVORITES for each number.  It’s not the all-time greatest.  Honestly, for me Bill Almon would get #2 over Derek Jeter …but to be fair, I *do* like Bill Almon… and, at any rate, Almon is not the guy I chose for #2.

For those who are new here, I’m a fan of the Mets, Orioles and Steelers, and I used to be a fan of the Capitals and of NASCAR (back in the 1990’s when the top level was still the Winston Cup).  Naturally, most of the choices come from these teams;  I’ll offer explanations only for cards which don’t fall into one of those categories.

0 – Rey Ordonez

1 – Mookie Wilson (Don’t tell my wife I didn’t pick Brian Roberts)

2 – J.J. Hardy

3 – Bud Harrelson

4 – Rusty Staub

5 – Rod Langway

6 – Melvin Mora

7 – Alan Kulwicki

It’s been 25 years since Kulwicki’s tragic death in a plane crash and looking at his cards still makes me wonder what might have been.  I continued following NASCAR for another 7 or 8 years, but for me it was never the same without Alan Kulwicki


8 – Cal Ripken


9 – Todd Hundley

FYI, the next two cards are from the 1995 Donruss Top Of The Order collectible card game.  One of these days I’m going to learn how to play this game.

10 – Darren Daulton

I collect Dutch because he’s the first player I saw in the minors who went on to establish himself as a Major League player

11 – Mike Gartner

12 – John Stearns… could’ve gone with Ron Darling, but I thought of Stearns first.

13 – Edgardo Alfonzo

14 – Nolan Reimold

I latched on to Reimold when he was an up-and-comer.

15 – Kirk McCaskill

My friend Billy went to the University of Vermont at the same time that McCaskill was the star and captain of the school’s hockey team;  I followed the exploits of “Captain Kirk” through Billy and became a fan.  Had he stuck with hockey rather than baseball I would’ve still collected him.

16 – Doc Gooden.

17 – B.J. Surhoff

18 – Daryl Strawberry

19 – Fritz Peterson

I collect Fritz for reasons too involved to get into here… and if you have to ask, yes, it’s for baseball reasons.

20 – Howard Johnson

21 – Dennis Maruk

22 – Doug Flutie

As someone who’s not particularly tall, I like guys like Flutie, Spud Webb and Muggsy Bogues.


23 – Luke Walker

When I was a kid, I mistakenly thought that Walker was a big name player;  I still collect him because of that.

24 – Rick Dempsey

To be clear, this 2004 card from the Maryland Lottery features the card number on the front, so don’t get confused by the “34” up top – Demper is #24 in the hearts of all Orioles fans (except maybe not for fans of Eric Davis or Arnie Portocarrero)

25 – Jim Abbott

26 – Rod Woodson

27 – Frank Catalanotto

I saw Frank in the minors and discovered that, like me, he’s from Suffolk County, Long Island.

28 – Daniel Murphy

29 – Dave Magadan

30 – Michael Conforto

31 – John Franco

Some of you are saying “What about Mike Piazza?”  Sorry, always felt a closer bond to Franco.

32 – Steven Matz

33 – Eddie Murray

I’ll be back in a couple of days with my favorite athletes from #34 to #99 (although I skip around a lot once I get past #59).


7 thoughts on “Favorite Athletes By The Numbers; Part 1, from 0 to 33

  1. I like this idea. May have to try it myself. While he wouldn’t be my #7 it’s nice to see a shoutout to the late Alan Kulwicki. He was a favorite of mine in my NASCAR days as well.

    You had two guys I had to look up: Edgardo Alfonzo and Frank Catalanotto. I found they both fit into my baseball ‘black hole’ when I was pretty much estranged from the game.

  2. I’m horrible with remembering jersey numbers, but I’ve often wondered how far I could get with something like this. My guess would be that I’d start skipping around once the numbers got into the 40s.

    • Oh, believe me, this post did not happen without internet help, mainly baseball-reference.com. A fair number of players were more about “I like this guy, what number did he have?”… if he got in, great. If not, I just moved on. It’s sort of like filling in a FrankenSet.

  3. Really interesting concept. Looking forward to the conclusion. Td be tough for me to do since there are some numbers with no NASCAR cards, and in the NBA any number after 55 is almost never seen. In fact, I have a jersey number based post coming later this week.

  4. Awesome idea for a post, but like Nick… I’m pretty bad when it comes to remembering jersey numbers. Here are a few that I do remember…

    4 Brett Favre & Byron Scott
    8 Kurt Suzuki, Kobe Bryant, & Chris Wondolowski
    12 Aaron Rodgers
    14 Patrick Marleau
    16 Devin Setoguchi
    19 Tony Gwynn
    22 Clayton Kershaw
    23 Michael Jordan
    24 Rickey Henderson & Kobe Bryant
    27 Jose Altuve
    28 Curt Warner
    31 Greg Maddux
    32 Steve Carlton

    Plus a few of the higher numbers, while it’s on my mind…
    35 Rickey Henderson
    39 Jeff Friesen
    42 Jackie Robinson
    80 Steve Largent & James Lofton

  5. Pingback: My Favorite Athletes By The Numbers; Part 2, from 34 to 99 | The Shlabotnik Report

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.