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Best By Number, Baseball 99

Numbers are everywhere in sports, in fact, one may argue there is nothing quite as memorable as a number.  A movie about Dale Earnhardt was simply titled “3” and every sports fan can recognize the symbolism number 755 even if it doesn’t have the same titled as the past.  Athletes numbers on their backs are as much as the name’s arching above them and no one can escape the number they wear or wore.  Kobe will always be #8 even when he’s #24 and no one can recall that Ken Griffey Junior was #3 during his final year in Cincinnati.  I have researched the best players in each sports to wear numbers from 0-99.  This is the list for Major League Baseball.

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A middle reliever who never showed enough bite to become a closer in the Big Leagues leads us off?  It’s true folks.  Few have worn The Great One’s number in the Majors: only 13 total players.  The most familiar name might be Manny being Manny, but the Man-Ram totaled only 3 seasons in the high nineties and those were far from being as memorable or stat-filled as his dozens of years sporting #24.  The only player to wear the number longer than Turk was Cardinals lightweight So Taguchi and all apologies to the World Series winner, but Wendell’s journeyman 3.93 earned run average is enough to make him the most talented #99 in baseball history.  Wendell’s most memorable moments might be due to his outspoken nature rather than his mediocre stat sheet; such as saying Barry Bonds “obviously” took steroids in 2004 and said the same of teammate Sammy Sosa in 2006.  He may not be the most popular player in history, but I don’t think he mights as he relaxes on his 200-acre ranch in Colorado.

 

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