The current representative of the 26 totem. - Jamie Squire
When you get lost looking at the history of White Sox jerseys numbers, you start noticing things.
I fell down another B-R hole.
I was looking up how soon Paul Konerko will pass Frank Thomas for third in franchise history in hits (it likely won't take any longer than three games) when I accidentally clicked on Konerko's jersey circle at the top of his page. Which then led me to this. I did not know of this Baseball-Reference.com feature. It's magical and trivial and ultimately means nothing, kind of like spring training.
- Two players have worn 0 for the Sox, strangely both in the 1985 season (Oscar Gamble and Mark Ryal).
- We've also had a player wear 99 (Manny Ramirez), so we've covered the whole gamut!
- Single digit numbers are their own weird little world, just like on most long running teams. 2, 3, 4, and 9 are retired and obviously unavailable. For whatever reason, 1, 5, 7, and 8 are all quite popular, having been worn almost every season for the past three decades.
- 6 was unofficially retired for Charley Lau, with his disciple Walt Hriniak being the last to wear it.
- More players have worn 26 than any other number in franchise history. Weird, right? 26 doesn't feel like a number that players would be drawn to, but here we are. 27 and 28 are right up there as well. Athletes are weird.
- I really hope Conor Gillaspie makes the team and wears 12 since the last time there wasn't a 12 on the team was 1996. Don't ruin the streak, Conor.
- As Jim pointed out recently, Frank Thomas very briefly wore 15 when he first came up in 1990. I'm really happy I never saw that live. Seems unnatural. Potentially more jarring than seeing him play for Toronto.
- For one magical year, the White Sox had a player named Bill Knickerbocker. If he merged with Pants Rowland, I would be the happiest lad in all of Kansas. But that is not possible. So I remain average on the happiness scale.
- Scott Ruffcorn was the last player to wear 42 for Chicago back in 1996. MLB retired the number throughout the league one year later.
- There's nothing particularly strange about Chris Sale wearing 49. Dude likes square numbers, nothing wrong with that. But there's a weird pattern. The four previous 49s were all left-handed pitchers (Randy Williams, Aaron Poreda, Horacio Ramirez, Arnie Munoz). It's not surprising that they're all pitchers, 49 is a pitchers number. But all southpaws? Conspiracy!
- Seven players wore 56 before Mark Buehrle. Collectively they were all worth about one average Buehrle season.
- No one has ever worn a number in the 80s. Other than Ramirez's outlier 99, no one has worn a number above 77. That someone was Will Ohman.