Posts Tagged ‘reited numbers by multiple teams’

Baseball Players with Uniform #s Retired by Multiple Teams

August 18, 2011

Hall of Famer Phil Niekro (L) had his #35 retired by the Atlanta Braves. Many also feel that his late brother Joe Niekro (R) also deserves to have his #36 retired by the Houston Astros. (That’s me, Bill McCurdy, in the middle above. The photo was taken in 2005, on the day of Joe Niekro’s induction into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame.)

In addition to Joe Niekro, there are number of deserving former players out there whose numbers could easily be retired with ease and complete justification. The practical question is, how long can this relatively new condition continue to thrive until most teams use up all the available one and two digit figures available? The thought of three-digit uniform numbers hardly sounds like a great station to reach. On the other side, if some of the older clubs who have been doing the retired number honor longer suddenly stop, the danger over the years to come exists that better players may come along than some of those who have already had their numbers retired. In that case, how do we justify withholding the same honor from the newer greats in franchise history?

Maybe each club should simply establish its own franchise hall of honor and leave uniform number retirement out of the honors formula.

Jackie Robinson is the only player to have his #42 retired by all thirty LLB clubs in honor of his 1947 civil rights role in breaking the ancient racist color line, but are you  aware that eight other former big leaguers have had their playing numbers retired by more than one team? I was jogged into a state of greater consciousness of this fact as I mulled over the list of those who have been so honored and found it interesting.

Nolan Ryan again is the leader of the pack, Three of his four clubs shone the light of attention on both Ryan and themselves by retiring his team number. The Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim (California Angels in Nolan’s day) retired his number 30; the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers also retired the #34 that he wore with their clubs.

Longtime home run king Hank Aaron had his #44 retired by both the Atlanta Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers.

Manager Sparky Anderson had # 10 retired by the Cincinnati Reds and then saw #11 equally honored by the Detroit Tigers.

Catcher Carlton Fisk saw his #27 retired by the Boston Red Sox and then played long enough, and apparently well enough, to have hi new inverted #72 retired by the Chicago White Sox.

Mr. October, Reggie Jackson, had his #9 number with the Oakland A’s retired, but also his #44 with the New York Yankees tkane out of use by others on that club as well.

Pitcher Greg Maddux is another same #/two team number retiree. (I missed Greg on my first weep, but Barb Presko Hughes pigtailed my catch and brought us up to speed on the omission. Thanks, Barb!) Greg Maddux’s #31 was retired by both the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs.

Intrepid slugger Frank Robinson held onto his #20 long enough to see it retired by both the Cincinnati Reds and the Baltimore Orioles.

Finally, Ole Perfesser Casey Stengel wore drab old #37 long enough as manager of both the juggernaut New York Yankees and the jigsaw-puzzle New York Mets to have it retired by each Gotham City team.

I may have missed someone in today’s morning rush, but I don’t think so. Feel free to check me out at Baseball Almanac.Com.

And have a nice Thursday. Once again, too bad it’s not coming our way with any rain.