Baseball Uniform Numbers- Facts

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Some baseball uniform numbers have more history than others. It is not a secret that usually the better players wore the lower numbers. But not always.

Which Baseball Uniform Numbers at the Top Three?

The Top spot belongs to a Murderer’s row of players. Leading the way with a WAR of 1909 is #5. Let’s gander at some of the best players wearing this number, They include: Albert Pujols, Freddie Freeman, Joe DiMaggio, Johnny Bench, Jeff Bagwell, Brooks Robinson, Hank Greenberg and George Brett among many, many others. In 1954, Hank Aaron wore this number in his rookie season before the switch to #44.

Next is baseball uniform number which is #6. with 1,821 WAR. Some of the top players in this uniform are Stan Musial, Al Kaline, Tony Oliva, Sal Bando and Willie Wilson. In the deeper dive, we find 57 different players put up at least a 10 WAR. Mantle wore this number for six months of his career.

What does Willie Mays, Ken Griffey Jr., Rickey Henderson and Miguel Cabrera have in common? They wore #24. Barry Bonds had this number with the Pirates. They accumulated a 1,809 WAR.

More Baseball Spotlight articles here

Originally, uniform numbers were first used in 1909 by the Cuban Stars. The first time a Major League team wore numbers was on June 26, 1916 by the Cleveland  Indians on their sleeves.  The numbers were assigned as starting players were assigned by their spot in the batting order. The backup catcher was given #9 and pitchers were assigned #’s 10-14.

In 1929, The New York Yankees put the number on the back of their uniform. In 1951, the Brooklyn Dodgers had numbers put on the front of their uniform.

From Wikipedia:

The official rules of baseball state that uniforms must be identical for all members of a team. The only mention of uniform number is that it must be on the back and a minimum of six inches tall. Each player must have their own unique number, but there is no rule requiring coaches to have unique numbers. 


About the author– Tom Knuppel has been writing about baseball and sports for a few decades. As an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan he began with the blog CardinalsGM. Tom is a member of the United Cardinals Bloggers and the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. He also maintains the History of Cardinals website. More recently he has been busy at KnupSolutions and the primary writer of many sports at KnupSports and adds content at Sports 2.0. Tom is a retired High School English and Speech teacher and has completed over one hundred sportsbook reviews. He also can be followed on Twitter at tknup.

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