Sports Illustrated Ranks Baseball’s Greats by Number

Cal, Eddie, and Palmer are givens, but who else made the list?

by Matthew Taylor

NumerOlogy must love this. has ranked its “Best Baseball Players by Number.” Here’s a rundown of where former O’s – long-timers and short-timers alike – landed on the list.

The Best by Number

Cal Ripken – No. 8. How many Baltimore-area Little Leaguers proudly sported No. 8 during Ripken’s career?

Eddie Murray – No. 33. “Ed-die, Ed-die, Ed-die.”

Jim Palmer gets No. 22. Jimmy Key and Will Clark “worthy of consideration,” according to, but Palmer gets the easy nod.

Albert Belle – No. 88. Somewhere Rene Gonzalez softly weeps. NumberOlogy notes that three Birds have sported a pair of eights.

Roberto Alomar – No. 12. One of the all-time greats when he came to play.


Luis Aparacio – No. 11. “Little Louie” handled everything that came his way as part of the Birds’ first-ever World Series championship team.

Worthy of Consideration, according to SI

Harold Baines – No. 3. The Maryland native was all hit, no run. But boy could he hit. That’s why every Jan. 9 is “Harold Baines Day” in St. Michael’s. Hard to make a case for anyone over Baltimore-native Babe Ruth, no matter your loyalties.

Brooks Robinson – No. 5. It’s hard to compete with Joe DiMaggio, but surely Brooks rivals Johnny Bench for the runner-up spot.

Paul Blair – No. 6. How many students at Catonsville High School knew that their substitute teacher, Blair, was among baseball’s best? Blair substituted at CHS in the ’90s.

Reggie Jackson – No. 9. You were thinking Brady Anderson, weren’t you?

Miguel Tejada – No. 10. Think ESPN will challenge Tejada on this number as well?

Davey Johnson – No. 15. I wonder if Peter Angelos has registered his disagreement with this decision.

Scott McGregor – No. 16. Smooth lefty in good numerical company with the likes of Whitey Ford, Hal Newhouser, Doc Gooden, Bo Jackson, and Frank Viola.

Sammy Sosa – No. 21. Fair to say this has nothing to do with his performance in Baltimore.

Fred Lynn and Dave McNally – No. 22. Fred Lynn played fewer than four seasons in Baltimore, but I remember him as an O. Why? Sitting in the leftfield bleachers at Memorial Stadium I learned a thing or two about fan etiquette thanks to a Fred Lynn multi-homer game. The locals gave the outfielder a standing ovation as he made his way to the outfield following the second blast.

Jesse Orosco – No. 47. Three cheers for the snap dragon, Orosco’s go-to pitch with the Birds.

Mike Boddicker and B.J. Ryan – No. 52. Like Lynn, Boddicker split time between Baltimore and Boston. Unlike with Lynn, Birds fans have more of a claim to Boddicker, who had his lone 20-win season in Baltimore and won a World Series with the O’s.

Arthur Rhodes – No. 53. Roar from 34 loves Arthur Rhodes, but perhaps a lack of competition factored into this decision.


About mptaylor11

Roar from 34, a Baltimore Orioles Blog. Humor. History. Homerism. Since 2006.
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