Thursday

Athlete Number 69 - Mark Schlereth


The man they affectionately call "Stink," Mark Schlereth, is the best professional athlete to sport the jersey number 69. Over 12 seasons split between the Washington Redskins and the Denver Broncos, Schlereth was nominated to two Pro Bowls (1992 and 1999,) was named an All-Pro (1997,) and garnered three Super Bowl rings (one with the 'Skins and two with the Broncos.) Schlereth's path to the NFL took him from his hometown of Anchorage, Alaska, to the University of Idaho where he played his college ball. You may have heard him speak recently as an analyst on the Mike and Mike radio show on ESPN radio, NFL Live, or SportsCenter.

Did you know......Schlereth purportedly had 29 knee surgeries?

(photo courtesy of denverbroncos.com)


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Monday

Athlete Number 68 - Jaromir Jagr


The best athlete to ever wear the jersey number 68 is NHL superstar Jaromir Jagr. It is rumored that Jagr sports the number 68 on his hockey jersey in memory of the Prague Spring Rebellion that occured in Czechoslovakia in the year 1968. Whatever the actual reason, there is no dispute that he's the best to ever wear the number. Some of his career accomplishments include:
  • Five time NHL points leader (Art Ross Trophy) - 1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001
  • Three time players' MVP (Lester B. Pearson Award) - 1999, 2000, 2006
  • NHL MVP (Hart Trophy) - 1999
  • Two time NHL Stanley Cup Champion - 1991, 1992
  • Seven time All-Star
  • Most regular season points by a right wing (149 in 1995-96)
  • Former Pittsburgh Penguins captain
  • Former New York Rangers captain

Did you know......Jaromir Jagr supposedly kept a picture of Ronald Reagan in a school textbook in Czechoslovakia?
(photo courtesy of aktualne.centrum.cz)

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Thursday

Athlete Number 67 - Bob Kuechenberg

The story of the best athlete to wear the jersey number 67 is an interesting one. Bob Kuechenberg was drafted out of Notre Dame by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fourth round of the 1969 NFL draft. He was subsequently cut by the Eagles and picked up by the Atlanta Falcons whereby he was immediately released. After working as a salesman for a period of time, Kuechenberg was picked up as a free agent by the Miami Dolphins. He went on to play fourteen seasons as a guard with the Miami Dolphins, being named to six Pro Bowls.

Kuechenberg was a part of the Dolphins championship teams in Super Bowls VII and VIII. Bob was extremely durable as an NFL lineman, with consecutive start streaks of 53, 42 and 49 games. He also fractured his back in August of 1977 and was still able to come back as a starter that season after missing only two regular season games.

Did you know.....that only Dan Marino has played in more Dolphins games than Bob Kuechenberg?

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Wednesday

Athlete Number 66 - Mario Lemieux

The Great One. Oh wait, that's the other hockey player with the famous number. Although Mario doesn't own the moniker given to Mr. Gretzky (they called Mario "Super Mario,") Lemieux can be considered one of the best, if not THE best, hockey players ever to pull on an NHL jersey. His jersey number 66 is synonymous with greatness for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Not only was Mario a great player in the NHL, he is also a great executive and owner. As stated in the summary of the sports book, "Mario Lemieux: Over Time", written by Chrys Goyens and Frank Orr, which features Mario's famous jersey number 66 on the cover, "By age thirty-four, he was president of the Pittsburgh Penguins, once again resurrecting a foundering franchise, this time in a suit." We could write an entire sports book about Mario's accomplishments here. But we won't. Here are some of Mario's career hockey highlights:

  • Drafted 1st overall by Pittsburgh in 1984
  • Six Art Ross Trophies, (1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997)
  • Ranked number 4 on The Hockey News' 1998 list of 100 greatest players
  • Three Hart Memorial Trophy Awards (1988, 1993, 1996)
  • 1997 Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee (yes he came back to play while he was a Hall of Famer!)
  • 199 Points in 1988-1989 season
  • 12 game goal scoring streak (NHL record)

Did you know.......Mario Lemieux currently owns the Pittsburgh Penguins?

(photo courtesy of usatoday.com)

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Monday

Athlete Number 65 - Elvin Bethea



Elvin Bethea, the 6'2" Defensive End who played for the Houston Oilers, might not be a household name, but if you're a football fanatic you better recognize him as one of the best ever to play the game of football because the Pro Football Hall of Fame does. He's also the best professional athlete to ever wear the jersey number 65. Some of his creds:

  • 210 regular season games played

  • 16 seasons with the Oilers

  • 105 unofficial career sacks (record not officially kept until 1982)

  • 16 unofficial sacks in 1973

  • Selected to eight Pro Bowls

  • All-AFC four times

  • 135 consecutive regular season games played

Elvin was a three-time All-American in college at NCA&T State University.

Did you know......Elvin was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2003?

(photo courtesy of houstonprofootball.com)


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Thursday

Athlete Number 64 - Randall McDaniel

At number 64, we have few "flashy" options for the best athlete. However, considering the large amount of NFL lineman who have covered their shoulderpads with the tackle and twill number 64, Randall McDaniel stands out above them all. After all, the man was a twelve time pro-bowler which is impressive for any player at any position (including punter!) Randall wore purple and yellow for the majority of his career with the Minnesota Vikings (1988-1999.) He also spent two years down in the heat of Tampa Bay (2000-2001,) with the Bucaneers. Randall played college ball at Arizona State University.

A 2006 inductee into the Minnesota Viking's "Ring of Honor," McDaniel can be considered among the elite to ever play on the offensive line in the NFL. In fact, regarding the left guard position, Brad Johnson was quoted in the December 15, 2006 edition of the Star Tribune, saying that "he's the best to ever play that position."

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