NHL Athlete Number 2 - Doug Harvey

Listed at number 6 on The Hockey News' list of 100 Greatest NHL Players, Doug Harvey is my number 1 selection for the best NHL athlete to ever wear the jersey number 2.

Again, there were several players who could have been selected here. That list includes Al MacInnis, Jacques Laperriere and Brian Leetch, just to name a few. But the selection here has to be Harvey.

Harvey, a 1973 Hockey Hall of Fame inductee, played in the NHL between the years 1945 and 1969. He spent the majority of his career with the Canadiens, but also did stints with the Rangers, Red Wings and Blues. Harvey obviously established himself as one of the best NHL defensemen of all time, winning an outstanding seven Norris trophies.

In an era where defensemen weren't expected to score, Harvey accumulated 540 points, of which 452 were assists, proving his value as a set up man.

Doug Harvey would be an NHL All-Star 13 times in his 19 NHL seasons.

Did you know..................Doug Harvey was a six-time Stanley Cup Champion?

You can buy your own Doug Harvey hockey card here.

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NHL Athlete Number 1 - Jacques Plante

NHL Jersey Number 1 has been worn by several great goaltenders, among them: Jacques Plante, Terry Sawchuk, Gump Worsley, Eddie Giacomin, Glenn Hall, Bernie Parent, "Chico" Resch and Roberto Luongo. But I can only select one. As you can see from the comments on the selection for the best overall professional athlete to wear jersey number one, there is no shortage of opinion on who should be "number 1" (pun intended). So, with my one selection, I am picking Jacques Plante as the best NHL athlete to ever wear number 1.

Jacques Plante, a 1978 inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame, began his NHL career with the Montreal Canadiens at age 24, during the 1952-53 season. He wouldn't become a full fledged starting goalie until two seasons later however. He quickly became a premier net-minder, leading the league in wins with 42 and goals against average (GAA) with 1.86 just one season later (his fourth overall).

Plante would wind up leading the league in GAA for five straight seasons, and eight times overall. To go along with that impressive career stat, Plante added five times leading the league in wins, and four times leading the league in shutouts.

Playing for the Candiens, New York Rangers, St. Louis Blues, Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, and Edmonton Oilers, Plante would rack up the following career stats over 18 NHL seasons:

  • 437 Wins
  • 2.38 Career GAA
  • Seven (7) Vezina Trophies (1955-56 through 1961-62 and again in 1968-69)
  • 82 Career Shutouts
  • 71 Playoff Wins
  • 2.14 Career Playoff GAA

Did you know................Plante shutout Chicago in his NHL debut?

Number 1 in Other Sports

NFL Number 1
MLB Number 1

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Heyward's Jersey Number with Braves

Many of you, if you're baseball fans, are probably already aware of this, but just in case: Jason Heyward will be wearing jersey number 22 as he starts for the Atlanta Braves in right field this season.

You can pick up your own Jason Heyward #22 jersey here..

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Jersey Number Post Order

By the time you reach number 70 in the list of best MLB athletes to wear each jersey number, you really need to search quite a bit to find athletes who wore these numbers. They're out there, but a lot of them wore these high jersey numbers in Spring Training or as a rookie for a brief period of time (ala number 68 here). There are some bona-fide superstars and HOFers who wore high numbers too of course (think Carlton Fisk).

So, with no rules here as to the order that I'm posting these numbers, I'm going to start on some of the more recognizable NHL and NBA numbers. I'll continue with the high MLB numbers, but just not in direct order (meaning that I'll post NHL jersey numbers and NBA jersey numbers in between MLB jersey numbers). You'll still get to look up all the MLB jersey numbers by following the links in the sidebars.

Just wanted to give you all a heads up in case you're wondering why the ordering of posts may have changed.

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MLB Athlete Number 68 - Albert Pujols

Wait a second! Albert Pujols wears number 5, not number 68. Yes, he does now. But he didn't when he was called up in 2001 with the Cardinals.

There are a few players who have worn, or currently wear the jersey number 68 in major league baseball. Not a lot have worn the number 68 for more than a brief period of time. we ask "who was the best to ever wear number 68, at all, in MLB?" That answer is Albert Pujols.

Unfortunately, we couldn't pick Albert Pujols as the best MLB athlete to ever wear the jersey number 5, but we did get him in here.

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Jersey Number News 03 23 10

LeSean McCoy will change his jersey number from 29 to 25 for the upcoming NFL season. McCoy will also, as you know, get a chance to be the feature back for the Eagles.

Jordan Norwood, out of PSU, will also sport a new number for the Eagles this season, wearing 19.

New Chicago Bear, Julius Peppers, will pull on the number 90 for his new team.

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Jersey Number News 03 16 10

Ryan Howard's jersey number will be retired this year. No....not by the Phillies; that would be weird while he is actively playing for them. His jersey number 29 will be retired by the Lakewood BlueClaws, the single A affiliate of the Phillies, based on the Jersey Shore. See the details here.

Gilbert Arenas will be changing his jersey number from 0 to 6. Seems like another superstar basketball player recently decided to change their jersey to number 6.........

Garrett Anderson will be wearing number 00 for the Dodgers (at least in Spring Training), an extremely unusual one in the baseball world, symbolizing a fresh start after spending so much time wearing number 16 with the Angels.

Did you know that there is a tavern in Montreal called "Taverne 544/9", named after Maurice "Rocket" Richard's NHL goal total and his jersey number?

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MLB Athlete Number 67 - Franciso Cordova

Francisco Cordova pitched in the major leagues between 1996 and 2000 for the Pirates. During that time period, Cordova racked up 42 wins and a respectable career 3.96 ERA.

Cordova's best year in major league baseball came in 1998 when he won 13 games while putting up a 3.31 ERA, along with 157 strikeouts.

In 1997, Cordova pitched nine innings of a combined ten inning no-hitter at home against the Astros. You can see the full details from the New York Times here.

Did you know....that Cordova made his first start in 1996, the same year he was signed as an amateur free agent out of Mexico?

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MLB Athlete Number 66 - Juan Guzman

We're now into the more obscure jersey numbers as far as baseball is concerned. Number 66 is not any different. Of those MLB players who have donned double-sixes, Juan Guzman is the best.

Guzman pitched in the majors between the years of 1991 and 2000. He racked up 91 wins and 1,243 Ks over that time period. He was also twice a World Series Champion (in 1992 and 1993 with the Blue Jays and an All-Star in 1992. Guzman wasn't of particularly large stature (he stood 5' 11" when pitching), but he could certainly bring the heat. His career K/9 ratio was 7.54.

Did you know................Juan Guzman was the 1996 AL ERA Leader (at 2.93)?

You can see the best overall professional athlete to ever wear number 66 here.

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MLB Athlete Number 65 - Phil Hughes

Phil Hughes, the New York Yankee pitcher and 1st round draft pick in the 2004 draft by the Bombers, is the best MLB athlete to ever wear the jersey number 65.

Towering at 6 feet 5 inches and 240 pounds, Phil Hughes presents a commanding presence while standing on a baseball mound. Hughes was given high praise as a young Yankee pitcher and did his best to live up to the billing in his rookie season. That year, 2007, Hughes went 5-3 with 58 Ks in 72.2 innings pitched. Not to bad for a 21 year-old in the big leagues.

Hughes had a very tough sophomore season, going 0-4 with an above 6 ERA. He proved his mettle though in 2009. During a year where he became a World Series Champion, Hughes found his stride going 8-3 with a 3.03 ERA and 96 Ks in 86 innings pitched.

Did you know............Hughes was a 1st team High School All-American? (source: Wikipedia)

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MLB Athlete Number 64 - Dustin Pedroia

Okay, we're going to bend the rules a bit on this one. Generally, the best athlete for any certain jersey number has to wear that jersey for the majority of their career. But....try finding an athlete in baseball who has worn the number 64 for the majority of their career. If you can find one, please post a comment here and let me know who it is.

So.....lacking any definitive best number 64, we'll pick the best MLB athlete to have ever worn number 64 in the big leagues. And that athlete is Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia. He only wore number 64 for 31 games in the major leagues, during his initial year of 2006. And he only hit .191 that year. Maybe the uniform number switch to 15 had something to do with his surge in stats the next year. All he did for his first full season in the majors was to bat .317 and win the AL Rookie of the Year for 2007. He would follow that up by winning the 2008 AL MVP award batting .326 with 213 hits.

See Pedroia wearing his number 64 uniform here.

Did you know......that Pedroia led the AL in runs scored in both 2008 and 2009?

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LeBron Will Wear Number 6 in 2010

As previously reported in November of 2009 on Best By The Numbers, LeBron will be changing his jersey number from 23 to 6, purportedly out of respect for Michael Jordan. See the news on the website here.

Now, how about respect for Bill Russell? Well, the argument there is that LeBron already wears number 6 as his Team USA jersey number. Regardless, as one Cavaliers fan said to me, "don't think that Nike isn't behind this", alluding to the jersey sales revenue they will see as a result of the jersey number change. Fans will most certainly buy the new LeBron number 6 jersey.

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