Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ultimate Number Players: #11-15

Welcome to the latest installment of Ultimate Number Players! You know the rules by now, so here we go with the newest batch!

Ultimate #11: Luis Aparicio

The consistency of Luis Aparicio's career has always astounded me. In 18 seasons, he never took the field at any position besides shortstop, always played at least two-thirds of his team's games at the position, and always wore #11. With the White Sox (twice), the Orioles and the Red Sox, he's the perfect guy to represent this number.

Ultimate #12: Dusty Baker

According to Baseball-Reference, Roberto Alomar wore #12 at every stop except Arizona, where Steve Finley already had it, forcing him to wear #2. However, according to Baseball Almanac, Alomar wore both #2 and #12 for Arizona. The 2004 Diamondbacks traded away both Finley and Alomar during the season, and the Finley trade was five days before the Alomar trade. Is it possible that Alomar wore #12 in the two games he played for Arizona after the Finley trade? Without any documentation, I can't be sure. If Alomar in fact did, he would definitely be the Ultimate #12.

In the meantime, the Ultimate #12 has to be Dusty Baker, who not only wore the number at each of his four major league stops (Braves, Dodgers, Giants, Athletics), but has worn it at each managerial stop as well (Giants, Cubs, Reds). Unfortunately, I can't find pictures of Baker with a visible #12 for each of those teams, nor can I find one for any other player who potentially qualifies for the Ultimate Number Player designation, so I won't be able to include a photo collage with this one. Sorry!

Ultimate #13: Billy Wagner
Perhaps one of the most underrated players of our era (career 187 ERA+!), Wagner wore the unlucky #13 with five teams: The Astros, Phillies, Mets, Red Sox and Braves.

Ultimate #14: Pete Rose

The rare "gritty gamer" type who was actually a Hall of Fame-level player, Rose wore #14 with his hometown Reds, the Phillies (before it was retired for Jim Bunning), the Expos in a brief stint, and the Reds again, where he broke the all-time hit record.

Ultimate #15: Davey Lopes
A legitimate Hall of Very Good second baseman, Lopes wore the number with the Dodgers, Athletics, Cubs and Astros, though there were periods with the latter two teams when he wore different numbers.

Since I can't find pictures of Lopes with a visible number 15 for each of those teams, there's going to be another substitute photo collage. The player? Kevin Millar, who also wore it with four teams: The Marlins, Red Sox, Orioles and Blue Jays. He was nowhere near the player Lopes was, but he stuck around long enough to make his mark on baseball.

No comments:

Post a Comment