MLB Athlete Number 35 - Frank Thomas

Frank Thomas, who played most of his career with the Chicago White Sox, but also spent time with the A's and Blue Jays, sported number 35 every year (even if some years it was in addition to other numbers) and is the best MLB athlete to ever wear that number.

Over a 19 year career, Thomas smacked 521 homers, 1,704 RBI, 2,468 hits and batted a career .301.

Thomas was taken by the Sox with the 7th pick in the 1989 amateur baseball draft. The hulking first baseman out of Auburn University quickly made an impact in the major leagues. In 1990, with 191 at-bats, Thomas batted .330 with seven dingers. Playing full time in his sophomore MLB season, he would smack 32 dingers.

Thomas would continue to put up double digit numbers in the home run category, through 2007, for each season that he was healthy enough to play the majority of the year. His peak season came in 2000, when he would knock 43 over the fence with 143 RBI and a .328 batting average.

Did you know......Frank Thomas' nickname is "The Big Hurt"?

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MLB Athlete Number 34 - Nolan Ryan

He also wore 30 for several years, but he started out in 1966 wearing number 34 for the New York Mets (yes, remember, he played for them and won a World Series with them), and wore 34 from 1980 through 1993 with the Astros and Rangers. That qualifies Nolan Ryan to be the best MLB athlete to ever wear the jersey number 34.

Okay, you know that Nolan Ryan is one of the best pitchers to ever take to the hill. But....just in case you forgot, here are some his stats that back it up.

  • 7 career no-hitters
  • 5,714 career strikeouts (currently number 1 all-time)
  • 324 career wins
  • 3.19 career ERA
  • 341 strikeouts in 1977

Did you know.....that Nolan Ryan was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999 (along with Orlando Cepeda)?

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MLB Athlete Number 33 - Eddie Murray

Playing 21 seasons of Major League Baseball, and earning an induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003, Eddie Murray is the best MLB athlete to ever wear the jersey number 33.

Murray was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1977, playing with the Baltimore Orioles. He played in 160 games as a young rookie, smacking 27 homers that year. He would reach double digits in home runs for each of the next 19 seasons. That consistency allowed Murray to reach 504 career total home runs. He coupled that with a career .287 batting average and 1,917 career RBI.

Did you know......that Murray played six games at third base during his career?

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MLB Athlete Number 32 - Sandy Koufax

32 is an easy one. Possibly the best left handed pitcher ever. He's also the best professional athlete to ever wear the jersey number 32. He is Sandy Koufax.

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MLB Athlete Number 31 - Mike Piazza

This one was a tough decision. Two players could be considered for the best MLB athlete to ever wear the number 31. If you are going by the best all-around athlete, I'd give it to Dave Winfield. (He was, after all, drafted by four professional sports teams). However, for the best MLB athlete, going by the best statistics and impact on the game of baseball on the field, I give it to Mike Piazza.

Mike Piazza is often considered the best hitting catcher ever in major league baseball. Piazza's career batting average was .308. His best years, by batting average, are as follows:

  • .362 in 1997
  • .348 in 1998
  • .346 in 1995
  • .336 in 1996
  • .324 in 2000

As you probably know, Piazza also had quite a bit of power, in addition to being able to hit for average. He had 427 career home runs, and twice reached 40 single season homers (1997 and 1999).

Did you know.......Mike Piazza was the 1,390th pick in the 1988 MLB amateur draft?

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MLB Athlete Number 30 - Orlando Cepeda

This is a fairly tough number to pick the best MLB athlete for. Nolan Ryan wore the number 30 and he would obviously be the prime pick. However......he wore the number 30 only from 1968 through 1979. The rest of his career, ending in 1993, was spent wearing the number 34. So, with it being said that he is one of the best pitchers ever, and that he wore number 30 for some of his career, we will not list him as the best MLB athlete to ever wear number 30.

Orlando Cepeda gets the nod for the best MLB athlete to ever wear number 30. Cepeda wore number 30 for the majority of his career, spanning the years 1958 through 1974. (He also wore numbers 28, 20, 12 and 25, each for no more than one season).

Cepeda, who was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame just before the end of the previous millennium, put up some impressive batting statistics over his 17 MLB seasons.

  • .297 career batting avg.

  • 379 career home runs

  • 2,351 hits

  • 1,365 career RBI

  • 1958 NL ROY

  • 1967 NL MVP

  • 1961 NL Home Run King (46)

  • Led NL in RBI in 1961 and 1967

  • 1999 Hall of Fame Inductee

Did you know.......that one of Orlando Cepeda's nicknames was "Cha Cha"?

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MLB Athlete Number 29 - Rod Carew

As Adam Sandler put it in his famous song, ".....Hall of Famer, Rod Carew. He converted." In my opinion, this guy does not get the publicity and acclaim that he deservers. Carew was easily one of the best hitters to ever play the game and certainly the best to ever wear the jersey number 29.

  • 7-time AL Batting Champ

  • Batted .388 in 1977

  • Batted over .300 in 15 different seasons

  • 18-time All-Star

  • 1977 AL MVP

  • Lead AL in hits in 1973, '74 and '77

  • 353 career stolen bases

  • 3,053 career hits

Did you know.....Rod Carew's number 29 jersey has been retired by the Twins and Angels?

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MLB Athlete Number 28 - Bert Blyleven

This is a tough one, because it could have realistically gone to either Sparky Lyle or Bert Blyleven. You can only pick one though. Over a career spanning 22 years, Bert Blyleven pitched for the Twins (in two separate stints,) the Rangers, Pirates, Indians and Angels. Over those years he put up some terrific numbers and wore the number 28 while doing so, for most of them. He only wore the number 22 while with the Pirates from 1978 to 1980.

  • 287 career wins

  • 3701 career strikeouts

  • 3.31 career ERA

  • 4 post-season wins

Blyleven's longevity may be attributed to his early start in the majors. He played his first major league game when he was only 19.

Did you know....Bert was born in the Netherlands?

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