Best By Number, Baseball 88
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.
One of Major League Baseball’s short wicks, Albert Belle should be remembered more for his ability than his temper. A man who recorded nine consecutive years of 100+ RBI’s, an honor he shares with only six other major league players, Joey Belle’s monstrous career was cut short because of degenerative hip osteoarthritis which forced an early retirement at age 34. Belle, whose contract he signed with the Orioles in 1998 made him the game’s highest paid player, compiled a .295 career average whilst averaging 37 homers and 120 RBI’s a year from 1991-2000. It seems a farce Belle never won an MVP award, including 1995 where he become the only 50-50 man for doubles and homeruns while batting .317. As for the 88 on his back? Belle averaged .289/30/110 with the double eights gracing his back.