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WSI News - Season Features

Sox by the Numbers

by Mark Liptak

Baseball and numbers have always had a close association. I’m not just speaking from a statistical standpoint, although that’s certainly important, but what I’m really referring to is the numbers the players have worn to identify themselves.

Think back to when you were a kid. In my day when the Major Leagues only had eight to ten clubs in each league, kids not only knew the starting lineups of every team, but the batting order and usually the numbers the players wore.

Every number evoked a name, usually only one name. Remember #2? (Nellie Fox), #7? (Mickey Mantle), #11? (Luis Aparicio), #21? (Roberto Clemente), #22? (Jim Palmer), #32? (Sandy Koufax), #44? (Hank Aaron), #45? (Bob Gibson) and so on.

Of course things are a lot different today. Numbers, like everything else in baseball, starting changing in the 70's. Before then very few players wore numbers above #50. Former Yankee great Jim Bouton wore #56 (to remind him he said, of how close he was to not making the team!) But that was a very rare exception.

In the 70's though you had players like Terry Forster (#51) and "Goose" Gossage (#54) leading the charge to change things. Carlton Fisk , when he came to the Sox in 1981, requested uniform #72. His number in Boston was #27 and Fisk said he wanted #72 to remind him of those days but also at the same time to let him know this was a fresh start.

Today it’s common for players to have numbers in the 50's and 60's. Sometimes when I see the numbers of the Sox "can’t miss kid pitchers," I think I’m actually seeing the starting offensive line from the Bears!

Anyway this historical column takes a look at Sox numbers down through the years. It’s by no means a complete list because when the Sox franchise began, and for many years afterwards, they didn’t have uniform numbers. We’ll never know what number "Shoeless" Joe Jackson or "Lefty" Williams might have had. Also some Sox players were so obscure that frankly, I don’t think anybody really cares what was their number!

As you go through the list to find your favorites, keep in mind some uniform numbers are now retired and some players switched to different ones for various reasons. That’s why you’ll see some names twice. In fact three of the biggest Sox stars of the 90's switched to a different number shortly after they came up to the show. Can you name them??

So stroll down memory lane with me and enjoy!

"Number Please..."

#1    Tommy Agee - OF

        Sandy Alomar Sr. - IN

        Luis Alvarado - IN

        Scott Fletcher - IN

        Lance Johnson - OF

        Jim Landis - OF

        Kenny Lofton - OF

        Tony Phillips - OF

        Bill Stein - IN

        Wayne Tolleson - IN

#2    Mike Andrews - IN

        "Smokey" Burgess - C / PH

        Nellie Fox - IN (Retired 1976)

#3    Harold Baines - DH / OF (Retired 1989)

        Del Ennis - OF

        Fred Hatfield - IN

        Eddie Leon - IN

        Jim McAnany - OF

        Floyd Robinson - OF

        Lou Skizas - OF

        Jim Spencer - IN

        Walt "No Neck" Williams - OF

#4    Luke Appling - IN (Retired 1975)

        Ron Hansen - IN

        Ron Jackson - IN

        Marty Marion - MGN

#5    Bobby Coluccio - OF

        Joe Cunningham - IN

        Ray Durham - IN

        Duane Josephson - C

        Vance Law - IN

        Matt Merullo - C

        Bobby Molinaro - OF

        "Bubba" Phillips - IN

        John "Honey" Romano - C

        Jerry Royster - IN / OF

        Luis Salazar - IN / OF

        Bill "Moose" Skowron

        Bill Sharp - OF

        Roy Sievers - IN

        Ed Spezio - IN

#6    Billy Goodman - IN

        Tommy McCraw - IN

        Jorge Orta - IN

        Dave Philley - IN / OF

        Ed "The Creeper" Stroud - OF

        Al Weis - IN

        Gus Zernial - OF

#7    Don Buford - IN

        Alan Bannister - IN

        Bob Farley IN / OF

        Scott Fletcher - IN

        Marc Hill - C

        Gene Lamont - MGN

        Jerry Manuel - MGN

        Noberto Martin - IN

        Syd O’Brien - IN

        Russ Snyder - OF

        Chuck Tanner - MGN

        "Jungle" Jim Rivera - OF

        Steve Sax - IN

        Ken Williams - OF

#8    Kevin Bell - IN

        Albert Belle - OF

        Ray Boone - IN

        Daryl Boston - OF

        Mike Devereaux - OF

        Tom Egan - C

        Ferris Fain - IN

        Brooke Fordyce - C

        "Bo" Jackson - OF

        Mark Johnson - C

        Ted Kluszewski - IN

        Ron LeFlore - OF

        John "Pineapple" Matias - OF

        Tony Phillips - OF

        Harry "Suitcase" Simpson - IN / OF

        Pete Ward - IN / OF

#9    Johnny Callison - OF

        Danny Cater - OF

        Wayne Causey - IN

        Ron Hansen - IN

        Woodie Held - IN

        "Minnie" Minoso - OF (Retired 1983)

        Lee "Bee Bee" Richard - IN

        Charlie Smith - IN

1-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+

#10   Ron Blomberg - DH

        Jack Brohamer - IN

        Royce Clayton - IN

        Tommy Davis - OF

        Jay Johnstone - OF

        Tony LaRussa - MGN

        Mike LaValliere - C

        Darren Lewis - OF

        Sherm Lollar - C

        Al Lopez - MGN

        J.C. Martin - C / IN

        Don Pavletich - C

        Ron Santo - IN

        Chris Snopek - IF

        Dave Stieb - P

        Jeff Torborg - MGN

#11  Jerry Adair - IN

        Luis Aparicio - IN (Retired 1984)

        Chuck Brinkman - C

        Clint "Scrap Iron" Courtney - C

        Jim Essian - C

        Don Kessinger - IN / MGN

        Rudy Law - OF

        Dave Nicholson - OF

        Greg Pryor - IN

#12  Julio Cruz - IN

        Willie Harris - IN

        Ed Herrmann - C

        Mike Huff - OF

        Chad Kreuter - C

        Steve Lyons - IN / OF

        J.C. Martin - C / IN

        Jim Morrison - IN

        Paul Richards - MGN

        Chris Singleton - OF

        Joel Skinner - C

        Eddie Stanky - MGN

        Eric Soderholm - IN

#13  Harry Chappas - IN

        Ozzie Guillen - IN

        Antonio Osuna - P

#14  Tony Bernazard - IF

        Jack Brohamer - IN

        Ken Boyer - IN

        Larry Doby - OF

        Sammy Esposito - IN

        Julio Franco - DH / IN

        Benji Gill - IF

        Craig Grebeck - IN

        Paul Konerko - IF

        Fred Manrique - IN

        Dave Martinez - OF

        Tommy McCraw - IN

        Bill Melton - IN

        Russ Morman - IN / OF

        Bill "Moose" Skowron - IN

#15  Dick Allen - IN

        Sandy Alomar Jr. - C

        Doug Drabek - P

        Donnie Hill - IN

        Paul Lehner - OF

        Kirk McCaskill - P

        Ken McBride - P

        Gerry McNertney - C

        Bill Nahorodny - C

        Russ Nixon - C

        Don Rudolph - P

        Bob Sadowski - IN

        Frank Thomas - DH / IF

#16  Ken Berry - OF

        Julio Cruz - IN

        Brian Downing - C

        Jim Essian - C

        Marv Foley - C

        Jim Fregosi - MGN

        Bruce Kimm - C

        Ted Lyons - P (Retired 1987)

        Greg Pryor - IN

        Al Smith - OF

#17  "Chico" Carrasquel - IN

        Mike Caruso - IF

        Dave Duncan - C

        Sammy Ellis - P

        Marv Foley - C

        Dave Gallagher - OF

        Tony Graffanino - IN

        Jerry Hairston - OF / PH

        Carlos May OF

        Chris Sabo - IN

        Earl Torgeson - IN

#18  Terry Bevington - MGN

        "Rocky" Colovito - OF

        Gene Freese - IN

        Jim Fregosi - MGN

        Randy Gumpert - P

        Gail Hopkins - IN

        Pat Kelly - OF

        Barry Latman - P

        Steve Renko - P

        Herb Score - P

        Claudell Washington - OF

#19  Floyd Bannister - P

        "Buddy" Bradford - OF

        Bruce Howard - P

        Greg Luzinski - DH

        Lee Maye - OF

        "Cotton" Nash - IN

        Billy Pierce - P (Retired 1987)

        Dom Zanni - P

1-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+

#20  Sandy Conseugra - P

        Jerry Dybzinski - IN

        Joe Horlen - P

        John "The Jet" Jeter - OF

        Ron Karkovice- C

        Reid Nichols - OF

        Wayne Nordhagen - OF

        Aurelio Rodriguez - IN

        John "Honey" Romano - C

#21  George Bell - DH / OF

        Joey Cora - IN

        Todd Cruz - IN

        Cal Eldred - P

        Ray Herbert - P

        Bart Johnson - P

        Bob Lemon - MGN

        Gary Redus - OF

        Gerry Staley - P

        Robin Ventura - IF

#22  Thad Bosley - OF

        ":Buddy" Bradford - OF

        Ivan Calderon - OF

        Dave DeBusschere - P

        Dick Donovan - P

        Ed Farmer - P

        Jack Fisher - P

        Steve Kemp - OF

        Charlie O’Brien - C

        Donn Pall - P

        Paul Richards - MGN

        Aurelio Rodriguez - IN

        Jose Valentin - IF

        Richie Zisk - OF

#23  Lamar Johnson - DH / IN

        Steve Kealey - P

        Rudy Law - OF

        Bob Locker - P

        Gary Peters - P

        Virgil "Fire" Trucks - P

        Robin Ventura - IF

#24  Floyd Bannister - P

        Tom Bradley - P

        Don Buford - IN

        Mike Cameron - OF

        Joe Crede - IN

        Ernesto Escarrega - P

        Bart Johnson - P

        Ken Henderson - OF

        Carlos Martinez - IN

        Tom McCraw - IN

        Danny Murphy - P

        Warren "Deacon" Newson - OF

        Dave Schmidt - P

        Mike Squires - IN

        Early Wynn - P

#25  Jim Abbott - P

        Jeff Abbott - OF

        Rodolfo Arias - P

        Bobby Bonds - OF

        Mike Garcia - P

        Ron Hassey - C

        Jesse Jefferson - P

        Tommy John - P

        Jim Lemon - P

        Kirk McCaskill - P

        Tony Muser - IN

        Sammy Sosa - OF

        Mike Squires- IN

#26  Earl Battey - C

        Bobby Bonilla - OF

        Ellis Burks - OF

        Jose DeLeon - P

        Dave Hamilton - P

        Ricky Horton - P

        Rich McKinney - OF

        Jerry Willard - C

#27  Greg Hibbard - P

        Ken Kravec - P

        "Turk" Lown - P

        Lynn McGlothen - P

        Josh Paul - C

        Ron Reed - P

        Vincente Romo - P

        Mark Salas - C

        Don Secrist - P

        Brian Simmons - OF

#28  Joey Cora - IN

        Eddie Fisher - P

        Rodney McCray - OF

        Lyle Mouton - OF

        Claude Raymond - P

        Cory Snyder - OF

        Craig Wilson - IN

        Wilbur Wood - P

        Rich "Tex" Wortham - P

#29  Keith Foulke - P

        Jack Harshman - P

        Bobby Knoop - IN

        Frank Kreutzer - P

        John Kruk - DH / OF

        Jack McDowell - P

        Ray Moore - P

        Marv Staehle- IN

        Greg Walker - IN

1-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+

#30  Gerry Arrigo - P

        Salome Barojas - P

        Ross Baumgarten - P

        Johnny Buzhardt - P

        Cisco Carlos - P

        "Bucky" Dent - IN

        Don Kessinger - IN

        Rich Morales - IN

        Gene Nelson - P

        Magglio Ordonez - OF

        Donn Pall - P

        Tim Raines - OF

        Olmedo Saenz - IF

#31  LaMarr Hoyt - P

        Greg Norton - IF

        Scott Radinsky - P

        Bob Roselli - C

        Bruce Tanner - P

        Hoyt Wilhelm - P

32    Thad Bosley - OF

        "Buddy" Bradford - OF

        Larry Doby - OF

        Don Eddy - P

        Alex Fernandez - P

        Tim Hulett - IN

        Don Mueller - OF

        Juan Pizarro - P

        Steve Stone - P

        Kip Wells - P

#33  Neil Allen - P

        Gene Lamont - MGN

        Melido Perez - P

        Mike Sirotka - P

        Steve Trout - P

        David Wells - P

#34  Bill Almon - IN

        Ken Brett - P

        Eddie Fisher - P

        Atlee Hammaker - P

        Terry Leach - P

        Bill "Bugs" Moran - P

        Ken Patterson - P

        Cecil Upshaw - P

#35  Dewey Robinson - P

        Bob Shaw - P

        Frank Thomas - DH / IF

        Pablo Torrealba - P

#36  Clay Carroll - P

        Scott Eyre - P

        Jim Kaat - P

        Eric King - P

        Jerry Koosman - P

        Lerrin LaGrow - P

        Jack Lamabe - P

        Kevin Tapani - P

        Dan Wright - P

#37  James Baldwin - P

        Ron Schueler - P

        Dan Spillner - P

        Bobby Thigpen - P

#38  Frank Baumann - P

        Tim Belcher - P

        Esteban Beltre - IN

        Norm Cash - IN

        Gary Glover - P

        Dave LaPoint - P

        Jamie Navarro- P

        Phil Regan - P

#39  Nelson Cruz - P

        Don Gutteridge - MGN

        Roberto Hernandez - P

        Jeff Liefer - OF

        Bob Priddy - P

1-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+

#40  Wilson Alvarez - P

        Britt Burns - P

        Joe Cowley - P

        Mike Hershberger - OF

        Jack McDowell - P

        Jim McGlothlin - P

        Jim Parque - P

        Pete Vuckovich - P

#41  Cy Acosta - P

        Paul Edmondson - P

        Claude Osteen - P

        Dennis Higgins - P

        Don Mossi - P

        Jerry Reuss - P

        Tom Seaver - P

        Bill Simas - P

        Dick Tidrow - P

#42  Ron Kittle OF

        Al Lopez - MGN

        Tim Stoddard - P

#43  Carlos Castillo - P

        Ramon Garcia - P

        Bob James - P

        Dave Lemonds - P

        Roger Nelson - P

        Herbert Perry - IF

        Gary Peters - P

        Adam Peterson - P

        Bob Zupcic - OF

#44  John Cangelosi - OF

        Tony Castillo - P

        Moe Drabowski - P

        Russ Kemmerer - P

        Chet Lemon - OF

        Don McMahon - P

        Tom Paciorek - IN

        Dan Pasqua - OF

        Aaron Rowand - OF

#45  Jeff Abbott - OF

        Shawn Abner - OF

        Stan Bahnsen - P

        Camilo Carreon - C

        Wayne Edwards - P

        Kevin Hickey - P

        Chris Knapp - P

        Jack Lamabe - P

        Carlos Lee - OF

        Danny Tartabull - OF

#46  Francisco Barrios - P

        Jason Bere - P

        Jerry Don Gleaton - P

        Bob Howry - P

        Tim Lollar - P

        Eddie Robinson - IN

#47  Jim Busby - OF

        Matt Karchner - P

        Rusty Kuntz - OF

        Bryan Little - IN

        Steve Rosenberg - P

        Taynon Sturtze - P

#48  Jose DeLeon - P

        Sammy Esposito - IN

        Ralph "Roadrunner" Garr - OF

        Roger Nelson - P

        Rick Reichardt - OF

        Todd Ritchie - P

#49  Lorenzo Barcelo - P

        Tony Castillo - P

        Rich Dotson - P

        Lee Elia - IN

        Charlie Hough - P

        Jeff Schwarz - P

1-9 10-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+

#50  Juan Agosto - P

        Brian Drahman - P

        Buddy Groom - P

        Barry Jones - P

        Sean Lowe - P

        Larry Thomas - P

#51  Jason Bere - P

        Mike Bertotti - P

        Terry Forster - P

        Jon Rauch - P

        Dave Wehrmeister - P

#52  Rich Barnes - P

        Joel Davis - P

        Jon Garland - P

        Jerry Kutzler - P

#53  Dennis Lamp - P

#54  Rich "Goose" Gossage - P

        Al Levine - P

#55  Jim Geddes - P

        Jack Kucek - P

#56  Mark Buehrle - P

        Bryan Ward - P

#57  Brian Boehringer - P

        Shawn Hillegas - P

#58  Matt Ginter - P

#59  John Snyder - P

#60  "Rocky" Biddle - P

#65  Kelly Wunsch - P

#67  Jim Kern - P

#72  Carlton Fisk - C (Retired 1997)

Also in case you haven’t figured it out, Frank Thomas came up with the Sox in 1990 and wore #15 to start his MLB career. Robin Ventura came up with the Sox in 1989 and wore #21 and Jack McDowell came up in 1987 and wore #40!

As always questions, comments and concerns are appreciated. Contact me at mliptak1@ida.net.


Editor's Note:  Mark Liptak is an experienced sports journalist, holding several awards for both his electronic and print media work.  He has held numerous sports reporting positions for various TV and newspaper organizations, including Director of Sports for KNOE-TV (Monroe, Louisiana) and KPVI-TV (Pocatello, Idaho), and sports writer for the Idaho Falls Free Press, where his column "Lip Service" has appeared for for a number of years.  "Lip", his wife, and cats presently live in Chubbuck, Idaho, where they collectively comprise 100 percent of the Pocatello River Valley's long-time Sox Fan population.

More features from Mark Liptak here! 

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