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).