clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Fun with numbers: White Sox jerseys edition

When you get lost looking at the history of White Sox jerseys numbers, you start noticing things.

The current representative of the 26 totem.
The current representative of the 26 totem.
Jamie Squire

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 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.