January 20, 2004

Why does Alex Rodriguez wear #3? And what about Nick Van Exel's #37? And who is the last person to wear Jackie Robinson's #42? All those answers and more.

posted by 86 to general at 07:24 AM - 14 comments

I tend to love this meaningless crap. It's always interesting to see the motivations behind a player's number. Perhaps that's because at some point we all chose a number for our jersey (or at least we were assigned one and it developed meaning) and seeing that same association in stars keeps us connected some how. I had no idea Alex Rodriguez was a Murphy fan. And I was ignorant of the fact that there is a knuckleballers number. The article is baseball-centirc, but I bet we can add to the list. Duce Staley, for example, wears #22 because...

posted by 86 at 07:35 AM on January 20, 2004

This is timely. I have always worn #14 in honor of Red Sox left fielder Jim Rice (Don't bother looking, I'm not in the article), but this year I intend to switch to #15 in honor of Thurman Munson, just like Sandy Alomar Jr.

posted by vito90 at 08:32 AM on January 20, 2004

Nice article, thanks : )

posted by dfleming at 10:07 AM on January 20, 2004

I've missed seeing "Uni Watch" at the back of the Village Voice every couple of weeks (they've dropped their usual sports coverage entirely) and I've wondered if it appeared elsewhere. Thanks for finding it!

posted by chules at 10:31 AM on January 20, 2004

great link, 86. I love this meaningless crap, too. Does anyone here know if it used to be a rule in basketball for uni numbers to use only digits 1-5? (for example: 3, 12, 23...but not 17) Maybe because refs used to call fouls with fingers on each hand, and each could only go to five. Any validation to that? AskSpoFi

posted by msacheson at 11:36 AM on January 20, 2004

msacheson, I think you're right with both the rule and the reason. I think the league can permit players to wear other numbers and for some reason I think Dennis Rodman did just that at some point. I'm too busy to look it up right now, but perhaps someone can fill in the details. On a related note, I'm curious about football players who wear odd numbers. I know Keyshawn was granted permission to wear a teen number (WRs generally wear 80-89) when he was drafted. On the other hand a similar request by Randy Moss was denied. Anyone know how they determine this? Did Keyshawns number one overall pick status make the difference?

posted by 86 at 12:14 PM on January 20, 2004

I didn't find out whether or not there is a hard and fast rule for NBA uniforms, but I did find some interesting basketball-centric uniform number stories. Go here: http://www.nba.com/canada/bu_fashion.html and scroll down to "Significance of Numbers"

posted by Jugwine at 12:18 PM on January 20, 2004

When Garnett was drafted by the Timberwolves in 1995, he chose 21 in honor of Sealy, one of his favorite players—which forced Sealy to switch to a different number when he joined the Timberwolves in '98. Now _that's_ humility. Play on, big ticket.

posted by forksclovetofu at 12:38 PM on January 20, 2004

Duce Staley, for example, wears #22 because... it was the caliber of bullet that should have been put between his eyes during his idiotic holdout earlier this season. This is the same ignoramus who said he was holding out because he wanted to be rewarded for wanting to stay with the same team his whole mediocre career.

posted by wfrazerjr at 12:53 PM on January 20, 2004

Nice link, 86. Thanks.

posted by Ufez Jones at 01:22 PM on January 20, 2004

I wish there was a complete database to browse.

posted by garfield at 05:40 PM on January 20, 2004

I wish there was a complete database to browse. Sounds like a great idea, along the lines of IMDB, the Open Book project and such. Unipedia!

posted by billsaysthis at 09:10 PM on January 20, 2004

well, it's not a complete database, but here's the Society for Sports Uniforms Research

posted by goddam at 09:33 PM on January 20, 2004

Uniform trivia question: Name the only other NHL player (than Wayne Gretzky) to wear the number "99" during a regulation NHL game. Hint: his last name is NOT Gretzky. Answer: This guy.

posted by grum@work at 10:47 PM on January 20, 2004

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