Cal, Eddie, and Palmer are givens, but who else made the list?
by Matthew Taylor
NumerOlogy must love this. SportsIllustrated.com 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 SI.com, but Palmer gets the easy nod.
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?
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.