Sunday, May 27, 2012
Baseball Uniform Numbers
If you ever get a chance to attend a game at Yankee Stadium, one thing you will get to see, in addition to all the World Series and championship pennants hanging in the rafters, is all the retired uniform numbers. Baseball teams retire the uniform number of their stars in honor of the player who wore the number. One thing you will notice with the Yankees is that most of the numbers they have retired are single digit: 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8 and 9 among the others. Professional baseball teams didn't start wearing uniform numbers until the 1920's. In this era, players would wear the number of their batting order. The 1920's had the famous Yankee's Murderer's Row of Babe Ruth hitting 3rd (#3 on his uniform) and Lou Gehrig batting 4th (#4). In this era the backup catchers wore #9 and the five starting pitchers wore numbers 10 through 14. This practice became difficult to maintain because managers like to change the line-up throughout the season and fans come to identify a player with their numbers.