Sunday

Athlete Number 28 - Marshall Faulk


The best athlete to wear the number 28 is Marshall Faulk, known by most casual NFL fans as a member of the St. Louis Rams. Faulk was taken out of San Diego State with the number 2 draft pick by the Indianapolis Colts in 1994. Although Faulk started his career and proved himself with the Colts, he really made a name for himself as one of the best in the game with the St. Louis Rams. After five years in Indy, Faulk went over to the Rams in 1999 and together with Kurt Warner and "the greatest show on turf," started to put up some big numbers. In his inaugural season with the Rams, Faulk rushed for 1381 yards (the most in his career up to that point,) and caught passes for 1048 yards. The Rams won the Super Bowl that year, due in no small part to Faulk's contribution. Faulk's creds:

  • NFL MVP in 2000
  • AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 1999, 2000 and 2001
  • First running back in NFL history to lead his team in receptions five separate seasons
  • NFL rushing TD leader in 2000
  • 19,154 yards from scrimmage
  • 767 career receptions for 6875 yards 
  • 7 time pro-bowler
Did you know.....Marshall has two cousins who played professional football (Kevin and Trev)?  (photo courtesy of espn.com)


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Thursday

Athlete Number 27 - Juan Marichal

Sox fans (both Red and White,) will be dissapointed to know that Juan Marichal is the best athlete to ever wear the number 27. Of course, they'll be dissapointed because although Carlton Fisk was a strong consideration here, Marichal receives the honor. Known for his high leg kick pitch delivery, Juan broke into the bigs on July 19, 1960 with the San Francisco Giants. In his debut game, he shut out the Philadelphia Phillies with one hit. Some start. It was the beginning of a Hall of Fame career. His acheivements:

  • 2.89 lifetime ERA
  • Averaged 20 wins from 1962-1971
  • 9-time All-Star
  • Led NL twice in complete games and shutouts
  • 2,303 career strikeouts
  • 83.69% Hall of Fame election rate

Did you know......Juan Marichal's nickname is the "Dominican Dandy?" (photo courtesy of latinosportslegends.com)

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Sunday

Athlete Number 26 - Wade Boggs

Another tough one. Billy Williams, of the Chicago Cubs, was a real consideration here, but the title of best athlete to wear the number 26 goes to the long-time Red Sox star, Wade Boggs. Boggs, a recent Hall of Famer, who retired with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and won the World Series with the Yankees, was one of the best pure hitters in the game. He started off of course with the Sox, and batted a mere .349 in his rookie season! This would have given him the batting title, but he was 121 at-bats short of the requirement. For an encore, in his sophmore season he hit .361 for the year. In fact, Boggs hit over .360 in four of his first seven seasons. He could flat out hit. Here's some statistical proof:

  • .328 lifetime batting average
  • 3,010 hits in 18 seasons
  • 5-time batting champ (1983, 1985-1988; he was third at .325 in 1984)
  • 8-time Silver Slugger
  • 12-time All-Star
  • 2-time Gold Glove winner
  • 7 consecutive seasons of 200 or more hits

Did you know.....Wade was very superstitious and ate chicken before every game? (photo courtesy of psacard.com)

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Tuesday

Athlete Number 25 - Barry Bonds


Unfortunately, the best athlete to wear the number 25 gained some notoriety for all the wrong reasons. The guy is in the record books as major league baseball's all-time home run champion. And we're here to talk about the BEST to ever wear the number, and here he is. The son of Bobby Bonds, an outstanding major leaguer in his own time, Barry became by far the most feared hitter in baseball.  His name put the fannies in the seats, just like the Babe did years ago. Why did people come just to see Barry? Here's an idea why:
  • Seven-time NL MVP (1990, '92, '93, 2001, '02, '03 and '04)
  • 1st MLB athlete to win four MVPs in a row (2001-2004)
  • 1st all-time in HRs with 762
  • 14-time All-Star
  • 12 Silver Slugger awards
  • 8 Gold Glove awards
  • 500/500 club's only member (500 homers / 500 steals)
  • All-time leader in walks with 2,558
  • Single-season home run leader with 73 dingers in 2001
'Nuff said.
Did you know.......Wille Mays is Barry's godfather? (photo courtesy of pointedmagazine.com)


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Monday

Athlete Number 24 - Willie Mays


The "Say Hey Kid," Willie Mays is the best athlete to wear the number 24. Willie was a true "five tool" athlete, hitting for average and power, throwing well, fielding well, and running the bases with speed. He was an athlete is every sense of the word, and it was evident in his statistics. Willie's athleticism with the Giants (and Mets for a short time,) helped him acheive the following:



  • Two-time NL MVP (1954 and 1965)
  • 1951 NL Rookie of the Year
  • 24-time All-Star (Ted Williams said: "They invented the All-Star game for Willie Mays.")
  • 1954 NL Batting Champion
  • Four-time NL home run leader

Did you know....the Giants ballpark is currently located at 24 Willie Mays Plaza, with a statue of Willie outside surrounded by 24 palm trees, and a right-field wall that stands at 24-feet high, all in honor of Willie?

(photo courtesy of sanfranciso.giants.mlb.com)

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Friday

Athlete Number 23 - Michael Jordan


Is there even a discussion here? Michael Jordan, wearing number 23 for the Chicago Bulls, may be the best athlete on this list. Many people consider him the best basketball player ever. He could absolutely take over a basketball game. It was an entirely different game when he was on the court versus on the bench - which was rare. He could drive the lane, shoot from anywhere, dazzle with his acrobatics, play defense and win. Jordan was passionate about winning. This proved to be true on the basketball court, golf course or playing cards with his teammates. His drive to win led to his credentials as the best athlete to wear number 23, here:
  • 1985 NBA Rookie of the Year
  • MVP of the NBA for: 1988, 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1998
  • MVP of NBA Finals: 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, and 1998 (every year he was in it)
  • 1988 NBA Defensive Player of the Year
  • 32,292 career points (third most when he retired, behind Kareem and Karl Malone)
  • 10-time NBA scoring leader (seven consecutive)
  • All-Star game MVP in 1988, 1996, and 1998
  • 33.6 PPG average in six NBA finals
  • Named the greatest athlete of the century by ESPN in 1999


Buy a Michael Jordan 23 Bulls Jersey on eBay

Did you know.....Michael played professional baseball in the Chicago White Sox organization for the Birmingham Barons? (photo courtesy of espn.com)



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Thursday

Athlete Number 22 - Emmitt Smith



The best professional athlete to wear number 22 is the all-time NFL rushing leader Emmitt Smith. Emmitt was drafted number 17 by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1990 draft, out of the University of Florida. He went from being a late first round draft pick to a three-time Super Bowl champion and holding the all-time NFL rushing title. Emmitt Smith was the consumate professional and a world-class hard working athlete. Of all the running backs in people's all-time best lists, Emmitt is probably the most complete back. He could do it all well: accelerate and rush for yardage, make key blocks for Troy Aikman, and catch Troy's passes in the flat. Although he may not have been the "flashy" back that Barry Sanders was, he certaintly put up the statistics to consider him one of the best ever. Here are some of Emmitt's credentials:
  • NFL All-time leading rusher with 18,355 yards
  • 166 touchdowns as a running back ranks 1st all-time
  • 1,586 postseason rushing yards ranks 1st all-time
  • 21 playoff touchdowns ties him with Thurman Thomas for the all-time record
  • Super Bowl XXVIII MVP
  • 1993 NFL MVP
Did you know.....Emmitt set the University of Florida single-game rushing record in his first start at the school? (photo courtesy of cnnsi.com)



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