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    MLB’s best player at each uniform number – from No. 1 Ozzie Smith to No. 99 Manny Ramirez and every digit in between – CBSSports.com

    adam ottavino made history when he signed with the yankees.

    Not saying I’d strike out babe ruth every time (although I’d pay to see ruth fight any of today’s pitchers throwing 90+ fastballs with devastating breaking balls). No, what propelled Ottavino into the Yankees’ history book was the team’s announcement that he would wear No. 0. When he takes the mound for the first time in the Bronx, he will become the first Yankee to wear that number, also the only single-digit number in franchise history that hasn’t yet been retired.

    Reading: Best mlb players by number

    All that zero excitement got me wondering: who’s the greatest player to ever wear a single bagel on their uniform? who is the king of nil/nul/nol/cero/ziro/zewo/efes?

    turns out career leader in wins over replacement for players who didn’t use. 0 is to oliver, by a healthy margin. Oliver, a seven-time All-Star, has won three Silver Slugger Awards, finished in the top 20 of the MVP voting 10 times, and finished in the top 10 three times. he collected 2,743 hits and 1,326 RBIs during his 18-year career, ranking 57th and 100th on the all-time lists. in his best season, with 35 years playing for the expos, he led the national league in batting average, hits, doubles, rbi and total bases. He’s a long shot at making it to the hall of fame, but the same could have been said for Harold Baines, who just got in, and Oliver was a better player than Baines.

    The thing about baseball and numbers, though, is that it’s hard to stop. once you crown a winner by no. 0, you are curious about the no. 10, and no. 50 and no. 97.

    so here you go… the best players at each number in major league history, from 1 to 99.

    1 – ozzie smith

    Arguably the greatest defensive player of all time at any position, Smith won 13 Gold Gloves and generated more than 37 wins above replacement with his glove alone. also, there was this:

    2 – derek jeter

    sixth all-time in hits (3465), 11th all-time in runs scored (1923), 12th all-time on base (4717), plus five rings in an era when dynasties are more harder to get than ever. .

    3 – baby ruth

    As a pitcher, Ruth went 94-46, won an era title, led the league once in shutouts, complete games, games started and fewest hits allowed per nine innings, and recorded a career era 22 percent better than league average on a park-adjusted basis.

    He was also a pretty decent hitter.

    4 – lou gehrig

    mel ott threw 511 home runs, drove in 1,860 runs and was the league’s best hitter five times by advanced metrics. and he still can’t get the go-ahead here, because of the iron horse. Somehow, Gehrig’s streak of consecutive games, and playing alongside Ruth, might have slightly overshadowed the beastly hitter that he was. only ruth and ted williams were better by ops.

    5 – Alberto Pujols

    This was the most difficult call for any number. these are just a few of the luminaries that didn’t win for best no. 5: Joe Dimaggio, George Brett, Johnny Bench, Jeff Bagwell, and Brooks Robinson. The first 11 years of Pujols’ career constitute one of the most prolific stretches for any hitter in major league history. his decline as an angel does not diminish his work in general, which is legendary.

    6 – musical stand

    musial, a 20-time all-star, might have been the greatest metronome in baseball history. how else to explain compiling the exact same number of hits home and away (1,815)? Not to mention his seven batting titles and the most underrated stat on his gargantuan résumé: a staggering 725 doubles.

    7 – mickey’s cloak

    a bit of jimi hendrix, janis joplin and kurt cobain lives on in the mystique of the cloak. Sure, he hit 536 regular-season home runs and hit an incomprehensible 18 long balls in 65 career World Series games, en route to winning seven rings. But we’re talking about a player who, according to ops+, was ranked as the seventh best hitter of all time, but whose career was cut short by injuries and other setbacks. Give him Hank Aaron’s on-field health and a lot more restraint off the field, and Mick could have ended up with a bunch of all-time records.

    8 – jose morgan

    Another brutal competition, one that left Carl Yastrzemski, Cal Ripken Jr., Gary Carter, Yogi Berra and Willie Stargell on the cutting room floor. But Morgan ranks right up there with Rogers Hornsby and Eddie Collins in the battle for the greatest second baseman of all time. If you take boxing’s pound-for-pound rankings and turn them into an inch-by-inch battle of baseball, 5-foot-7 Morgan, winner of two MVPs, creator of 10 all-star games, and catalyst for the big red machine dynasty, would be terribly hard to beat.

    9 – ted williams

    “a man has to have goals, for one day, for a lifetime, and that was mine, that people said: ‘there goes ted williams, the best hitter who ever lived'”.

    10 – lefty grove

    One of my favorite baseball debates of all time is also one you rarely hear mentioned: the greatest left-handed pitcher of all time. however, it is an absolutely fascinating debate. warren spahn won more games than any other southpaw. sandy koufax was sandy koufax, whose mythical peak of six years and his heroics in the world series to this day make veterans put aside all objective analysis and declare his man as the greatest, period. but based on objective metrics like wins above replacement and jay jaffe’s jaws, the answer, by a hair’s breadth, is southpaw grove.

    11 – barry larkin

    I’ll include the mvp awards as worthy accolades here and there in this column, but with the caveat that it’s an imperfect evaluation tool. Admitting that wins above replacement hadn’t been invented yet in 1995, the bottom line is that Larkin was the sixth-best player in the NL by that metric, and if voters weren’t so reluctant to pick pitchers like MVP, Greg maddux would have won that year in a ride. Regardless, Larkin was one of the greatest shortstops of all time with or without that MVP award, and he’s a worthy pick for a tab here over Edgar Martinez.

    12 – roberto alomar

    13 – alex rodriguez

    some of the greatest players of all time wore multiple numbers throughout their careers. a-rod was one of the best of that group, wearing no. 13 in his 12 seasons as a Yankee after a decade of rocking no. 3 with seattle and texas. during those yankees days he won two mvps, hit 351 home runs, led the bombers to a world series title in 2009 and had more wins above replacement in that uniform alone than tony perez and fred mcgriff in their entire careers. /p>

    14 – pink pete

    only on-field achievements are considered, that’s how the pitiful king of hits tops mr. puppy, ernie banks.

    15 – carlos beltran

    The criminally underrated center fielder was one of the most complete players of his generation, combining an excellent batting eye with prodigious switch-hitting power and a gold glove defense in center field to become a force well in the thirty both beltran and not. 15 finalists, jim edmonds, have fascinating hall of fame cases. I’d vote for Beltrán and seriously consider Edmonds, but voters may not end up giving either of them the go-ahead.

    16 – white ford

    The ace of Yankee dynasties in both the 1950s and early 1960s, Ford appeared in 11 World Series, won six, took home a World Series MVP award, and delivered a 2.71 era in 146 Fall Classic Work Entries. Retirement from him was not so easy, as the big southpaw was mercilessly pelted with pretzels.

    17 – todd helton

    Dizzy Dean is this group’s hall of famer, but he earned that honor largely thanks to his Game 7 victory in the 1934 World Series and his outsized personality. Helton still delivers the best body of work, posting a career .414 on-base percentage with park-adjusted numbers better than Tony Gwynn, Joe Morgan or Jackie Robinson, busting the myth that he was simply a product of Coors Field. .

    18 – johnny damon

    Damon was an example for Jacoby Ellsbury after him, playing for the Red Sox before moving to the Yankees. Prior to his championship with both clubs, Damon formed a third of one of the best outfield in decades, teaming with Beltran and Jermaine Dye in Kansas City and making you wish those royal teams even had a half-decent supporting cast. .

    19 – young robin

    Snubbing both tony gwynn and bob feller is pretty tough. but yount was that good, taking his 1982 mvp season to a brewers pennant al, winning another mvp seven years later, amassing 3,142 hits and becoming one of the few members of the 250 home run/250 steal club. Doing all of that while he wields two demanding positions at middle at short and in center field strengthens his case even more.

    20- frank robinson/mike schmidt (tie)

    The 24th and 25th greatest players of all time for wins above replacement (separated by a mustache). try to choose between the only player to have won the mvp award in both leagues and the best third baseman of all time.

    21 – roger clemens

    the rocket didn’t even carry no. 21 throughout his career, and he has formidable competition in Roberto Clemente and Warren Spahn. but clemens numbers with the red sox and bluebirds would only make him a member of the inner circle hall of fame, if the voters did not choose which performance enhancing drugs from the era before the joint prevention and treatment program of Drugs were grosser Considering the easy competition pitchers like Cy Young and Walter Johnson faced in the days before integration or even organized farming systems, Clemens is my pick for greatest pitcher of all time.

    22 – clayton kershaw

    kershaw’s koufaxian peak on jim palmer’s longevity. That, and an excuse to tell the story of Clayton Kershaw’s beginnings.

    23 – ryne sandberg

    ten straight all-star games, nine straight gold gloves, seven silver sluggers, a most valuable player award, a starring role in ending a 39-year playoff drought and, of course, the game of ryne sandberg.

    24 – willie mays

    yes no. 5 carried the narrowest margins among multiple candidates, no. 24 will probably win out of sheer evil. Here are the players who didn’t get the nod for this issue: Rickey Henderson, Ken Griffey Jr., Manny Ramirez, Miguel Cabrera and Pre-Giants Barry Bonds. then there is mays, who was not wearing. 24 for his entire career and is the third best position player of all time.

    25 – barry bonuses

    forget it! this one is headed to new jersey!

    i love jon miller. And I love Barry’s bonuses.

    26 – wading swamps

    another red sox player who later defected to the yankees, boggs only wore 26 in his boston days. Considering he hit .338 with a .428 on-base percentage, eight all-star berths and seven sliver sluggers in those 11 seasons alone, that’s enough.

    27 – scott rolen

    of the top four players to ever wear no. 27, two are in the hall of fame, and two are not. However, through wins above replacement (baseball reference version), Scott Rolen and Kevin Brown actually gain an advantage over Juan Marichal and Vladimir Guerrero, in substance, if not in style. I’ll take rolen by a hair, if only to highlight the strong hall of fame case he has, one that is currently being ignored. He’s one of the top two or three defensive third basemen of all time along with Brooks Robinson and Adrian Beltre, and he’s tied for ops+ with the likes of Ernie Banks and Paul Molitor. phenomenal player, hugely underrated.

    28 – bert blyleven

    He pitched on some awfully lousy teams, but Uncle Charlie still had 3,701 strikeouts, 60 shutouts and, beating his abysmal career support, more 1-0 shutouts than anyone in half a century.

    29 – adrián beltré

    Baseball is a game of reactions: the pitcher controls the ball, everyone else reacts to what happens next. For that reason, it’s rare for a baseball player to have a signature move, the way that, say, James Harden with the ball in his hands has perfected the step-back triple. But Beltre definitely had a signature move: the bare-handed charge grab, followed by an often off-balance rocket launch to first to catch up with the runner just in time. and while another does not. 29 earned serious consideration here, beltre doubled down by having crazy hits (3166) as if he were rod carew (3053).

    30 – tim raine

    See also: Nets vs Bucks Betting Odds 6/19/2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals Game 7 Moneyline, Total & Stats

    not a home run pick at all, raines has reached base more times than tony gwynn, lou brock, roberto clemente, mike schmidt, roberto alomar, eddie mathews, brooks robinson and harmon killebrew, is one of only five players to have stolen 800 bases, and he possesses the highest success rate for any base stealer with nearly as many attempts.

    31 – greg maddux

    if we’re going to downgrade the achievements of pre-integration (and adjacent to the dead ball era) pitchers like cy young and walter johnson and name roger clemens the greatest pitcher of all time, then maddux has a strong case of no. 2… just without the supposed baggage that comes with Clemens’ resume. One of the best seasons of all time that doesn’t get enough attention was mentioned above: Maddux’s ’95 campaign. That year, Mad Dog posted one of the lowest single-season eras ever recorded by a starting pitcher, 1.63. Except, unlike Bob Gibson and others who toiled at such depths, Maddux pulled off the Unreal Season at the height of the Pedantic Era, and in the process earned his fourth consecutive honor from He Cy Young. p>

    32 – steve carlton

    apologies again to sandy koufax and his otherworldly peak of 1961-66, but carlton was a master of longevity, pitching 24 years in the big leagues. however, he was not a mere compiler by any means. the southpaw took five strikeout crowns and four cy youngs, the last one at the advanced age of 37.

    33 – eddie murray

    for once, an easy call. Murray racked up 3,000 hits and 500 home runs when both numbers were immutable entry points into the Hall of Fame. If Mickey Mantle is the greatest switch hitter of all time, Murray fits comfortably with Pete Rose, Roberto Alomar, Tim Raines, Carlos Beltran, Bernie Williams and others of all time.

    34 – nolan ryan

    the ryan express, all-time strikeout king, author of seven no-hitters, advil peddler, pitching iconoclast. he wore no. 34 his first two years with the Mets and then didn’t use it again until 1980, his fourteenth year in the big leagues. try to fight him about it.

    35 – phil niekro

    heavy damage gets a lot of consideration here, but the nod goes to the greatest knuckleballer of all time. Like Tommy John, Jim Kaat, and other longtime casters, Niekro earned a certain reputation as a compiler, which can happen when you retire at 48 (!). But Knucksie was a terror in his prime, even though his prime came in his 30s and 40s: From 1977 to 1979, Niekro averaged more than 335 innings pitched and nearly nine wins above replacement per year, recording a ridiculous 65 complete games, a number that more seemed to come from decades before.

    36 – mr gay perry

    Speaking of wily right-handers who pitched forever, this notorious spit pitched 22 years in the majors, winning his first award just after his 40th birthday. baseball players cheat all the time, always have and always will. you might as well have some fun with that.

    37 – david stieb

    One of the most underrated pitchers in baseball history, Stieb was chosen by Hall of Fame voters and received just seven votes in his only time on the ballot. This despite posting better career numbers than his much more famous contemporary, Hall of Famer Jack Morris.

    38 – short shilling

    You can expect specialists like Niekro and spitballers like Perry to post some of their best seasons well into their 30s and late 40s. You wouldn’t necessarily expect that from a more conventional pitcher like Schilling. But Schilling’s Cy Young final three came in his 34-, -35-, and -37-year-old seasons, and his five years leading the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio occurred at ages 34, 35, 36, 37, and 39. Basically, Schilling was a good pitcher who out of nowhere became a Hall of Fame-caliber pitcher, well past the age at which most conventional pitchers would wane.

    39 – guillermo hoyt

    One of the game’s first dominant relief aces, Wilhelm went 15-3 in his rookie season, pitching 159 1/3 innings with a brilliant 2.43 ERA…all from the bullpen. he made his first major league appearance at 29 and his last at 49, yet another rarity in his incredible Hall of Fame career.

    40 – bartolo columbus

    41 – tom seaver

    The 1969 Miracle Mets probably wouldn’t even be the mildly interesting Mets if it weren’t for Seaver, who went 25-7 with a 2.21 era that year, winning the first of three career Cy Youngs. There are old Mets fans who still count June 15, 1977 (the day the team traded Seaver to Cincinnati) as a day of mourning. Among pitchers who began their careers in 1900 or later, only Cy Young, Walter Johnson, Roger Clemens, and Pete Alexander Top Seaver in wins above replacement.

    42 – jackie robinson

    Break the color barrier and lead the Dodgers to six National League pennants and a World Series win, and it’s natural for people to lose sight of the smaller, more nuanced facts about Jackie Robinson. Here’s how: In his 10-year major league career, Robinson walked 740 times and struck out just 291 times.

    43 – dennis eckerley

    Like John Smoltz and Hoyt Wilhelm, Eckersley built a solid body of work as a starting pitcher (149 wins, 3.71 ERA) to go with his brilliant performance as a bullpen stopper. Of the pitchers who built his reputation more or less entirely on standard one-inning closer work, only Mariano Rivera would get my vote for the Hall of Fame.

    44 – hank aaron

    The all-time leader in total bases and RBIs, Aaron was not only great, he was also incredibly durable. In the 16 seasons from 1955 to 1970, Aaron never played in fewer than 145 games, never hit fewer than 24 home runs, and never drove in fewer than 86 runs. Hammerin’ Hank never hits more than 45 long balls in a season, but when you play that well and last 3,298 games, the numbers add up.

    45 – bob gibson

    it feels like a crime to deny pedro martinez this place, especially since gibson built much of his legend on the conditions of the second dead ball era, the period of the 1960s that saw soaring, spacious mounds built power-limiting ballparks, scrawny middle infielders and other banjo hitters make automatic outs and umpires give away high strike calls at will. Even with all those caveats, Gibson’s 1968 season remains incomprehensible to this day.

    46 – andy pettitte

    An excellent pitcher and a key player in the Yankees’ core four, Pettitte also made his mark as the most high-profile player of the 1990s and 2000s to earn a free pass for his ped use. Being kind to the media has its perks.

    47 – tom glavina

    On August 8 on January 5, 2007, Glavine achieved his 300th victory, becoming the 23rd player to reach that milestone. randy johnson reached 300 two years later… and that’s it. the advent of the five-man rotation made reaching 300 wins much more difficult, and the five-man rotation has since given way to teams sometimes moving to six-man rotations. Meanwhile, teams are getting starters out faster each year, acknowledging both the third-in-order penalty against opposing hitters and the availability of multiple live bullpen arms who can come in fresh and shoot 98-mph fastballs. while it’s hard to say never about anything in baseball, it’s possible that, short of big changes in the way pitching is handled, we may never see another 300-game winner again.

    48 – rick reuschel

    More wins above replacement than tim raines, manny ramirez, john smoltz, jim palmer, eddie murray, tony gwynn, carlton fisk, ryne sandberg and ernie banks, and chances are you’ve never heard of him. Reuschel won 214 games in his 19-year career, more than Smoltz, Don Drysdale or Sandy Koufax. he was one of the biggest pitchers in the league (especially later in his career), but also one of the best athletes, winning two gold gloves, appearing as a pinch hitter and pinch runner and even losing four runs. triples.

    49 – ron guidry

    his 1978 cy young winning season was one of the most dominant for any pitcher in the last 50 years: a league-leading 1.74 era scoring an absurd 208+ era, nine shutouts, just 6.1 hits allowed per 9 innings and, thanks in part to a killer Yankees team behind him, an impressive 25-3 record. His nickname, Louisiana Lightning, is a classic.

    50 – jaime moyer

    Moyer, one of the league’s most flammable pitchers in his 20s, looked like he might disappear from baseball after spending the entire 1992 season in the minor leagues. he returned to the big leagues the following year with a much-improved command, posting a stellar era 30 percent better than the league average. he then lasted 18 more years in the majors, capping his 25-year career by becoming the oldest pitcher to win a game, doing so at 49 years and 150 days and breaking a record that had stood for 80 years. /p>

    51 – randy johnson

    lefty grove barely beats johnson for wins over replacement for the honor of being the best southpaw ever. but when you consider that johnson racked up more strikeouts than any other pitcher except nolan ryan, he posted better independent fielding numbers than grove and marked his dominance during the era of unusual offenses, my pick is the big unit.

    52 – cc sabathia

    sabathia, one of the best and most durable pitchers of his era, will hit $260 million in career earnings at the end of this season. if his son is left-handed, extremely talented, and incredibly hard-working, it might be worth a try. just saying.

    53 – bobby abreu

    don drysdale had a slightly better race, but I take this opportunity to introduce bobby abreu. no matter how much we hear that a walk is just as good as a hit, players tend to be recognized more for hitting than walking. no matter how much we understand the gap between doubles and home runs, we tend to exaggerate that gap when evaluating how a player performed. Abreu was a great player who derived much of his career value from walks (1,476 of them, 20th all-time) and doubles (574, 24th). add 400 stolen bases at a 76 percent success rate and incredible durability, and you’ve got one of the best outfielders of his generation, someone worthy of consideration in the hall of fame who in all likelihood won’t even be sniffed at by voters.

    54 – gossip gossip

    andrew miller and josh hader emerging as unbeatable multi-inning weapons in recent years hark back to gossage’s prime. Although Goose led the league in saves three times, he was more of a true firefighter than a one-inning closer, emptying bases, up two or three, three times topping 130 innings of relief in a season and still averaging more than one inning. By way out until his late 30s and early 40s. His views on millennials are comically silly, but he was a great pitcher.

    55 – orel hershiser

    yes, this was the era of moderate offense that preceded the hitting explosion of the 90s. yes, dodgers stadium played like one of the most pitcher-friendly parks in baseball. yes, as best we can quantify over 30 years ago, the dodgers were a good (but not elite) defensive team in 1988. still, throw all those warnings away so you can appreciate just how insanely difficult shooting 59 is innings without consecutive runs. A lanky, studious 17th-round draft pick might not be the image you conjure up when you think of pitchers who keep hitters up at night. but in his prime, no one gave opponents more nightmares than hershiser.

    56 – buehrle brand

    Buehrle earned a stellar reputation as an excellent control artist, an inning-eating bulldog, one of the fastest workers in the game and one of the best shooters. Still, when I hear the name Mark Buehrle, the first thing I think of is the perfect game he released in 2009…and Dewayne Wise.

    57 – juan santana

    what a change this guy threw. and here are a few more that give you goosebumps:

    58 – jonathan papelbon

    papelbon, a six-time all-star who amassed 368 career saves, is also one of the biggest unlucky losers in rookie-of-the-year history. In 2006, Papelbon marked his first full season in the big leagues by striking out 75 batters and allowing just 40 hits and three home runs in 68 1/3 innings, posting 35 saves and a microscopic 0.92 era… and he lost anyway. against justin verlander , who was good that year, but not that good.

    59 – carlos carrasco

    after a series of shoulder problems, as well as tommy john surgery that ended his entire 2012 season, carrasco has become one of the best pitchers in the current game that no one talks about, probably because he shares A rotation featuring two-time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and the ummm…colorful right-hander Trevor Bauer. Since he became a full-time member of Cleveland’s rotation in 2015, Carrasco ranks third among all American League starters in strikeout rate and third in park-adjusted independent pitching from the field.

    60 – dallas keuchel

    He has a cy young award and a reputation as one of the best and most stable pitchers in the league, which in this free agent market should earn him a new contract around Labor Day, for about 14 cents.

    >

    61 – livan hernandez

    The Cuban star enjoyed a productive 17-year career in the major leagues, making two all-star teams and three times leading the league in innings pitched. but if you ever want to piss off a bravos fan of a certain age, just show him this:

    62 – Scottish shields

    A 38th-round draft pick who made it to the majors, let alone emerged as one of the best relievers in the game for a few years, is impressive. also, the other does not. 62 under consideration is probably best known for bug spray.

    63 – ryan madson

    A short-lived, unsuccessful starter who found success in the bullpen, Madson is notable for both his strong performance (four seasons with a 2.55 or less era, including a dazzling 1.83 in 2017, plus two series rings world) and resilience: After Tommy John surgery and numerous false starts, Madson retired in 2014, before re-emerging with royalty after a three-year absence from the major leagues.

    64 – willian astudillo

    Of course, Astudillo has only played 29 games in the big leagues. but he’s also a 5-foot-9, 225 (???)-pound dynamo who hit .355 in his 29-game introduction to the show. and then there is this:

    65 – james paxton

    With just 102 games in his major league career, the big maple already has a no-hitter and an eagle on his résumé.

    66 – yasiel puig

    The wild horse will likely never regain the form that made him a phenomenon early in his career. he was considered so expendable that the Dodgers simply dumped his salary on the Reds. but man, it sure was a fun ride for a while, wasn’t it?

    67 – francisco cordoba

    See also: It is time to talk about Bobby Witt Jr.s defense – Royals Review

    cordova pitched two excellent seasons in the big leagues, most notably a 1998 campaign in which he turned in 220 1/3 innings with a 3.31 era, pitching in the same division as mcgwire and sosa during the year they went wild in the league, no less. that alone is a pretty strong legacy.

    68 – dellin betancias

    He struck out 42.3 percent of the batters he faced last season.

    69 – brook bronson

    brook topped 200 innings eight times, won a gold glove and made a stellar team. he just didn’t do any of those things during the three seasons he used no. 69 for pirates. Still, with so few players wearing that number, Arroyo is a good choice.

    70 – jorge kontos

    the higher the number, the further we will go.

    71 – elmer dessens

    see no. 70.

    72 – carlton fisk

    Now we’re talking. after making seven all-star games while wearing no. 27 for the Red Sox, Fisk flipped the script when he changed his socks to white. I was just a little kid when fisk hit that walk-off home run in game 6 fairly, but that didn’t stop me from jumping up and waving frantically on every long drive in my backyard that I needed to coil inside the balcony in left field to be a home run.

    73 – Ricardo Rincon

    The funniest part of the movie “moneyball” (and possibly any movie) is that jonah hill’s character got really excited about ricardo fucking corner.

    74 – kenley jansen

    It’s hard enough honing your craft to the point where you become one of the most dominant relief pitchers of your generation. it’s downright insane to be able to do that while having not one, but two heart surgeries.

    75 – barry zito

    one of my favorite pieces i’ve ever written was this appreciation of the oakland big three of tim hudson, mark mulder and barry zito as hudson and zito opposed each other in a career ending start for both of them, in the Colisseum. I could give you 600 reasons why Zito was unique. this however might be my favorite little nugget in the hit left turn :

    zito did not play in 2014, but mainly as a means of mental adjustment: “what became toxic for me was this idea, ‘I have to succeed!'” said zito. “Of course I want to be successful, but when you grab it too hard, it’s like an egg. You squeeze it too hard and it breaks.”

    then signed a minor league deal with oakland this february and did something unprecedented for someone with his pedigree: despite being cy young, two world series rings and a huge bank account, zito accepted an assignment to triple -to nashville, then spent most of the year on the farm.

    zito, a burgeoning songwriter who says nashville is one of his favorite cities for both its great music scene and overall fun vibe, said he enjoyed his time in tennessee. Still, some within the A’s organization still can’t believe what happened.

    “I said early on in April, ‘He’s not really going to be triple-A if he’s not on the team, is he?'” Forst said. “He had an opt-out clause in his contract after spring training, but neither he nor his agent said anything. He wanted to pitch so bad he was fine with being triple-A. All the stories about middle seats at 6 a.m. flights, not complaining, just being one of the guys there and everyone loved him… all those stories are true.”

    76 – Jose Iglesias

    …even though he only wore the number for a year, with the Red Sox. to atone for this paper-thin field at no. 76, here’s a 2013 play from churches that’s still one of the best I’ve ever seen:

    77 – joe medwick

    medwick only wore the no. 77 for two seasons with Brooklyn. but he was a 10-time all-star, the 1937 Most Valuable Player and a Hall of Famer with a .324 career batting average. Also, his nickname was “Duck”.

    78 – july urias

    He doesn’t even wear the number anymore, but I’m a sucker for pitching prospects making their major league debuts at a ridiculously young age, plus he’s only 22, so there’s plenty of time for him to stand out. Plus, the specs are lousy.

    79 – jose abreu

    abreu is a great player, a 6-3, 255-pound smasher who has thrown 146 home runs in his first five seasons in the big leagues, with a career line of .295/.353/.516. his list of accomplishments includes two all-star appearances, two silver slugger awards and the 2014 american league rookie of the year. but he was even more fun in cuba, putting up video game numbers with so few people watching, causing thoughts in heaven about his prodigious abilities. very good veteran of the big leagues is a great achievement; a small but real chance that he could be the best hitter in the world was even better, for the short time he lasted.

    80 – n/a

    according to baseball-reference, no major league player has ever worn no. 80. In the meantime, enjoy some rice jerry standouts.

    81 – saved eddie

    For a few years, Guardado was one of the most reliable relievers in the American League. How a pitcher who led the league once in appearances, and shone a 5.25 era that season, got the nickname “everyday eddie” is a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

    82 – johnny lazor

    only one major league player wore no. 82, and that player was johnny lazor, an underutilized outfielder for the red sox in the 1940s. on the plus side, “johnny lazor” is the best rejected superhero name of all time.

    83 – justin turner

    Before becoming a Dodgers star with one of the slickest beards of all time, Turner was a baby-faced rookie for the Orioles experimenting with dark numbers. Related: Starbeard players always seem to get early stops in their careers with orioles, and they always look completely, impossibly unrecognizable.

    84 – garden prince

    granted what i’m about to show you happened in milwaukee while the fielder was wearing a jersey with only a third of the thrust of no. 84 that he used in texas. still, any excuse to show off the biggest farewell celebration of all time is a good excuse.

    85 – milled durations

    The 12th overall pick in the 2003 draft was such a hot commodity in the minor leagues that Baseball America named him the ninth-best prospect in all of baseball. His career wasn’t much, but beating obscure pitcher Luis Cessa and even more obscure outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin is a big deal nonetheless.

    86 – n/a

    87 – dan otero

    according to baseball-reference, the second most similar pitcher to otero through age 33 is… our entry for no. 70, george kontos!

    88 – beautiful alberto

    In his two seasons wearing the no. 88 for the Orioles, Belle averaged 30 home runs and 110 RBIs. but degenerative osteoarthritis of the hip ended his career early, forcing the A’s to keep him on the 40-man active roster for three years with no chance of him playing, because insurance companies are weird. plus, the world of sports would be screwed without them.

    89 – n/a

    90 – adam cimber

    A respite from Padres prospect acquired by Cleveland as part of last summer’s Brad Hand trade, Cimber saw his numbers tumble with his new team, and he’ll have work to do to become the big club this spring. plus every time i hear his name i think of that pit bull song and then i can’t get it out of my head all day. So now you’re going to suffer with me.

    91 – alfredo aceves

    along with johnny damon and wade boggs, we’re apparently putting together an all-star team of red sox turned yankees, or in this case, yankees turned red socks turned yankees.

    92 – n/a

    93 – pat neshek

    A 12-year veteran of the major leagues, Neshek didn’t get no. 93 through last season, his second tour of duty with the Phillies. Neshek is an extreme gamer who is a rabid collector of baseball cards and a huge fan of the simpsons. You will be surprised to know that he has been one of my favorite players since the first day of his career.

    94 – jose mesa

    What about relievers who pick defensive lineman numbers late in their careers? in the table case, it happened in his last season, during a stopover of 16 games with the tigers. If you want to know everything there is to know about closer volatility, ask fans of the 1995 Cleveland team and fans of the 1999 Mariners the same question: what do you think of Jose Mesa? Come to think of it, ask the fans of the 1995 Cleveland team and the same Cleveland fans who sat in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series that same question, and see what happens.

    95 – takahito nomura

    Nomura was a 33-year-old, 5-7, 175-pound rookie for the 2002 Brewers. He appeared in 21 games, pitched 13 2/3 innings, walked 18 batters and delivered an 8.56 ERA, then never came back to pitch in the big leagues. but you know what? he still did, man. he succeeded.

    96 – voice invoice

    voiselle pitched from 1942 to 1950 with the old new york giants, boston braves and cubs, and he looked pretty good doing it for a while: in 1944 he led the national league in strikeouts and innings pitched, won 21 games and the all-star team scored. And if you’re wondering why a pitcher from the ’40s would wear such an odd uniform number, the answer is simple: Voiselle hailed from Ninety-Six City, South Carolina, where he attended Ninety-Six High School, paving the path to his future nickname and uniform number, ninety-six.

    97 – joe beimel

    the only player in major league history to ever wear no. 97. so he’s the default winner, the two sweetest words in the English language.

    98 – onelki garcia

    Another coffee cup player, Garcia pitched 1 1/3 innings for the 2013 Dodgers, then returned four years later to pitch six innings for the 2017 Royals, both posting a 13.50 era.

    99 – manny ramírez

    Remember when the dodgers used to look for flashy, fun players who could put butt in the seats? that was manny, who even at the end of his career could still rake, no rock. 99 in Los Angeles for three seasons. this winter, armed with all the money in the world to get whoever they wanted, they signed… a.j. pout. boo.

    It’s worth noting that mike trout and aaron judge obviously have strong arguments for 27 and 99, respectively, but I wanted to point out how ridiculously good rolen and manny were in their prime. it will be interesting to see where they sit on this list once their careers come to an end.

    See also: Analysis court ruling leaves ncaa more vulnerable than ever

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