List of Major League Baseball retired numbers
Major League Baseball and its participating clubs have retired various uniform numbers over the course of time, ensuring that those numbers are never worn again and thus will always be associated with particular players or managers of note. The use of numbers on uniforms to better identify one player from another, and hence to boost sales of scorecards, was tried briefly by the Cleveland Indians of 1916. The first team to permanently adopt the practice was the New York Yankees of 1929. By 1932, all sixteen major league clubs were issuing numbers, and by 1937, the leagues passed rules requiring it.
The Yankees' original approach was to simply assign the numbers 1 through 8 to the regular starting lineup in their normal batting order. Hence, Babe Ruth wore number 3 and Lou Gehrig number 4. The first major leaguer whose number was retired was Gehrig, in July 1939, following his retirement due to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, which became known popularly as Lou Gehrig's Disease.
Since then, over 150 other people have had their numbers retired, some with more than one team. This includes managers and coaches, as Major League Baseball is the only one of the major North American professional leagues in which the coaching staff wear the same uniforms as players. Three numbers have been retired in honor of people not directly involved on the playing field - all three for team executives. Some of the game's early stars, such as Ty Cobb and Christy Mathewson, retired before numbers came into usage. Teams often celebrate their retired numbers and other honored people by hanging banners with the numbers and names. Early stars, as well as honored non-players, will often have numberless banners hanging along with the retired numbers. Because fewer and fewer players stay with one team long enough to warrant their number being retired, some players believe that getting their number retired is a greater honor than going into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Ron Santo, upon his number 10 being retired on the last day of the 2003 regular season, enthusiastically told the Wrigley Field crowd as his #10 flag was hoisted, "This is my Hall of Fame!" However, Santo would be inducted into the Hall of Fame in July 2012, nearly two years after his death, after being voted in by the Veterans Committee.
- 1 List of all-time retired numbers
- 2 Former retired numbers
- 3 Retired in honor of multiple players
- 4 Alternative methods of recognition
- 5 Number retired by Major League Baseball
- 6 Similar honors
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 Additional reading
- 10 External links
List of all-time retired numbers
|File:Dagger-14-plain.png||Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame|
- Aparicio's number was temporarily unretired with his approval for fellow Venezuelan shortstop Omar Vizquel. Vizquel played the 2010 and 2011 seasons with the White Sox.
- Team founder. The number represents the "26th man"—Major League Baseball rosters are limited to 25 players, except for games played on or after September 1, when rosters are expanded to 40.
- Served as president, chairman, or CEO of the Cardinals from the team's purchase by Anheuser-Busch in 1953 until his death in 1989. The number represents his age at the time the number was retired in 1984.
- The Number 455 was retired in honor of the fans after the Indians sold out 455 consecutive games.
Former retired numbers
It is very rare for a team to reissue a retired number, and usually requires a special circumstance, such as the player for whom the number was retired coming out of retirement himself. Harold Baines is an example of this.
In cases of franchise relocation, the handling of existing retired numbers is at the discretion of team management. They may decide to continue honoring the retired numbers, including the San Francisco Giants, or they may choose to make a "fresh start" and reissue the numbers, as the Washington Nationals have done.
The Cincinnati Reds have placed Willard Hershberger's number 5 into circulation two years after his death. Cincinnati later re-retired the number 5 for Johnny Bench. When the Florida Marlins moved to their current stadium, Marlins Park, and rebranded as the Miami Marlins; the number 5, which was retired for their late first president, Carl Barger, was placed into circulation because Logan Morrison requested to wear the number.
|5||Barger, CarlCarl Barger[Notes 1]||Marlins||April 5, 1993|
|8||Carter, GaryGary CarterFile:Dagger-14-plain.png[Notes 2]||Expos||July 31, 1993|
|10||Dawson, AndreAndre DawsonFile:Dagger-14-plain.png[Notes 2]||Expos||July 6, 1997|
|5||Hershberger, WillardWillard Hershberger[Notes 3]||Reds||1940|
|30||Raines, TimTim Raines [Notes 2]||Expos||June 19, 2004|
|10||Staub, RustyRusty Staub[Notes 2]||Expos||May 15, 1993|
- Placed into circulation in 2012 when the Marlins moved to their new park and decided to honor Barger instead with a plaque at the stadium. The first player to receive the number was Logan Morrison. Barger was the team's first president, but died in December 1992, four months before the team's first game. The Marlins chose to retire #5 because it was the number worn by Barger's favorite player, Joe DiMaggio.
- The Montreal Expos retired numbers in honor of four players (Carter #8, Dawson #10, Staub #10, Raines #30). When the franchise relocated to Washington, D.C., after the 2004 season, the newly christened Washington Nationals chose not to recognize any uniform number retired while in Montreal. On October 18, 2005, the NHL's Montreal Canadiens honored the departed team by raising an Expos commemorative banner listing the retired numbers to the rafters of Montreal's Bell Centre.
- The Reds retired Hershberger's #5 after his death in 1940, but later returned it to circulation two years later. Cincinnati later re-retired the number 5 for Johnny Bench.
Retired in honor of multiple players
The following numbers have been retired in honor of multiple players:
- Chicago Cubs, #31: retired in 2009 for Ferguson Jenkins and Greg Maddux
- Cincinnati Reds, #5: retired in 1940 for Willard Hershberger who had committed suicide during the season; returned to service in 1942; retired in 1984 for Johnny Bench
- Montreal Expos, #10: retired for Rusty Staub in 1993; ceremony to honor #10 for Andre Dawson was held in 1997
- New York Yankees, #8: retired in 1972 for Bill Dickey and Yogi Berra
- St. Louis Cardinals, #42: retired in 1997 by all teams in MLB for Jackie Robinson; ceremony to honor #42 for Bruce Sutter was held in 2006
- New York Yankees, #42: retired in 1997 by all teams in MLB for Jackie Robinson; ceremony to honor #42 for Mariano Rivera was held in 2013
Alternative methods of recognition
One team, the Seattle Mariners, has never retired any jersey numbers (other than Robinson's #42 retired in all of MLB). Two additional teams, the Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals, have no retired jersey numbers. The Marlins had previously retired #5 in honor of their first team president, the late Carl Barger, but un-retired it entering the 2012 season. The Nationals franchise had retired jerseys in honor of four players when known as the Montreal Expos, but un-retired them upon moving to Washington.
The Mariners have kept the following numbers out of circulation since the departure of a popular player who wore it: #11 (Edgar Martínez), #14 (Lou Piniella), #19 (Jay Buhner), #24 (Ken Griffey, Jr.). and #51 (initially for Randy Johnson, and later for Ichiro Suzuki). Similarly, no one had worn #33 for the Colorado Rockies since the departure of Larry Walker in 2004 until Walker gave his blessing for Justin Morneau, a fellow British Columbia native who had idolized Walker as a boy, to wear it when Morneau joined the team in 2014.
The Rockies had not retired any numbers for their first two decades in MLB. However, as early as 2011, it had been speculated that the #17 of longtime first baseman Todd Helton would be the first number to be retired by the Rockies organization. The speculation proved true, as Helton indeed received the honor on August 17, 2014.
Some teams have not formally retired certain numbers, but nonetheless kept them out of circulation. For example, the Cincinnati Reds have only assigned Pete Rose's #14 to one other player after his retirement: his own son. #14 cannot be retired in honor of the older Rose due to his lifetime ban from baseball. The Los Angeles Dodgers' current policy is only to retire the numbers of longtime club members if they are inducted into the Hall of Fame; the lone exception was longtime Dodger player and coach Jim Gilliam, whose #19 was retired when he died of a cerebral hemorrhage during the Dodgers' 1978 postseason run. Nevertheless, the Dodgers have informally kept Fernando Valenzuela's #34 out of circulation since his retirement.
The New York Mets have not assigned Mike Piazza's #31 since he left the team in 2005. On opening day of the 2012 season the Mets unveiled a memorial "Kid 8" logo to honor the late Gary Carter. Although no Met has worn the number 8 since Carter's election to the Hall of Fame, it is not retired. Following Willie Mays' retirement in 1973, Mets owner Joan Payson promised him that the team would not reissue his #24; since then, the only Met to wear it has been Rickey Henderson from 1999 to 2000 (with the exception of a minor league call-up named Kelvin Torve, who was inexplicably issued #24 in August 1990 before fan complaints prompted the team to change his number to #39 ten days later).
The New York Yankees have not re-issued uniform numbers 20 (Jorge Posada) and 21 (Paul O'Neill) since those players ended their careers, except for a brief period in 2008 when Morgan Ensberg and then LaTroy Hawkins wore #21, before fan complaints led Hawkins to change his number to #22 in April.
Number retired by Major League Baseball
Normally the individual clubs are responsible for retiring numbers. On April 15, 1997, Major League Baseball took the unusual move of retiring a number for all teams. On the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's breaking the major league color barrier, his number 42 was retired throughout the majors, at the order of Commissioner Bud Selig. This meant that no future player on any major league team could wear number 42, although players wearing #42 at the time were allowed to continue wearing it (Mariano Rivera was the last active player to be grandfathered in, retiring after the 2013 season). Starting in the 2007 season, the 60th anniversary of Robinson's Major League debut, players and coaches have all worn the number 42 as a tribute to Robinson on Jackie Robinson Day, April 15.
Players who pre-date uniform numbers
Four teams have honored players who played before the advent of uniform numbers by placing their names among those of players whose numbers have been retired:
- Philadelphia Phillies: Grover Cleveland Alexander, Chuck Klein; both are denoted with a stylized "P" at Citizens Bank Park (Klein had various numbers in the later years of his career, but never wore one consistently)
- Detroit Tigers: Ty Cobb, Mickey Cochrane, Sam Crawford, Harry Heilmann, Hughie Jennings, George Kell, Heinie Manush; Cobb's name is displayed on the left-field wall of Comerica Park along with the players and manager whose numbers have been retired; the others have their names displayed on the right-field wall (Cochrane actually wore #3 for the Tigers, and Kell wore three different numbers, but the Tigers have not retired these numbers)
- San Francisco (New York) Giants: Christy Mathewson and John McGraw; both are denoted with "NY" and their names at AT&T Park
- St. Louis Cardinals: Rogers Hornsby, denoted with a "STL" and his name at Busch Stadium
- Bob Murphy and Ralph Kiner – New York Mets; The radio booth at both Shea Stadium and Citi Field are named for the beloved, late Murphy. The television booth at Citi Field is named for Kiner, who continued to broadcast some home games for the Mets until his death in early 2014.
- Jack Buck – St. Louis Cardinals; honored with a drawing of a microphone on the wall with the retired numbers.
- Lon Simmons, Russ Hodges, and Jon Miller – San Francisco Giants; honored with stylized old-style radio microphone displayed in place of a number.
- Marty Brennaman, Waite Hoyt, and Joe Nuxhall – Cincinnati Reds; honored with microphones by the broadcast booth.
- Jerry Coleman – San Diego Padres; a "star on the wall" in reference to his trademark phrase "You can hang a star on that one!" The star is painted in gold on the front of the press box down the right field line, accompanied by Coleman's name in white. Upon Coleman's death in 2014, the broadcast booth at Petco Park was named in his honor.
- Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn – Philadelphia Phillies; At Citizens Bank Park, the restaurant built into the base of the main scoreboard is named "Harry the K's" in Kalas's honor. After Kalas's death, the Phillies' TV-broadcast booth was renamed "The Harry Kalas Broadcast Booth". It is directly next to the radio-broadcast booth, which is named "The Richie 'Whitey' Ashburn Broadcast Booth".
- Ernie Harwell – Detroit Tigers; honored with his name alongside the retired players on the Left-Centerfield Brick wall in Comerica Park and a statue & portrait at the stadium's front entrance.
- Bob Uecker – "50 Years in Baseball" along with Uecker's name is next to the Brewers retired numbers at Miller Park.
- Tom Cheek – Toronto Blue Jays; honored with a banner on the Rogers Centre's "Level of Excellence" bearing his name and, in place of a jersey number, 4,306 – his streak of consecutive regular-season broadcasts.
- Harry Caray and Jack Brickhouse – Chicago Cubs: Caray is remembered inside and outside of Wrigley Field. A statue of him leading the crowd in "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" is near the bleacher entrance (originally at the corner of Addison Street and Sheffield Avenue), and a caricature of him adorns his former WGN-TV broadcast booth. Brickhouse's catch phrase, "Hey hey!" is memorialized in large red letters on each foul pole. (Brickhouse also has a statue on Michigan Avenue.)
- Dave Niehaus – Seattle Mariners; the press box at Safeco Field was renamed the "Dave Niehaus Media Center" on April 8, 2011 prior to the Mariners' home opener against the Cleveland Indians. In addition, a part of First Avenue NW outside the stadium was renamed Dave Niehaus Way, and the wall in deep right-center field also has a microphone with a Dave Niehaus graphic.
- Vin Scully – Los Angeles Dodgers; in 2001, the Dodgers honored Scully by naming the press box at Dodger Stadium the "Vin Scully Press Box".
- Arch McDonald and Bob Wolff - Washington Senators: MacDonald and Wolff's names are on the Washington Nationals' Ring of Honor at Nationals Park.
- Bill King – Oakland Athletics; The Athletics named their broadcast facilities the "Bill King Broadcast Booth" after King's death in 2005.
Owners and contributors
- The initials of former San Diego Padres owner Ray Kroc are painted in gold on the front of the pressbox down the right field line, accompanied by his name in white.
- The initials of former Boston Red Sox owners Tom and Jean Yawkey are rendered in Morse code and painted in white on the manual scoreboard on Fenway Park's Green Monster.
- Charles Bronfman was inducted into the Expos Hall of Fame as its inaugural member in 1993, and a circular patch placed on the right field wall with his name, the number 83, which he used to wear during spring training, and the words "FONDATEUR / FOUNDER".
- On April 8, 2008, the final opening day at Shea Stadium, the New York Mets unveiled a "Shea" logo which was displayed on the left-field fence next to the team's other retired numbers. The stadium was named for William Shea, a prominent lawyer who was responsible for the return of National League baseball to New York.
- Walter A. Haas, Jr., honorary jersey retired (with stylized Old English "A" in place of a number) in 1995, located in right field. Owner of the Oakland Athletics from 1980 until 1995. Haas purchased the team from Charles O. Finley in 1980, saving the team from potentially moving out of the area.
- At the start of the 2007 season, the Kansas City Royals designated Seat #9 in Section 127, Row C at Kauffman Stadium as the "Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat" in honor of Negro Leagues legend and Royals scout Buck O'Neil. During each home game, the Royals honor a fan who exemplifies O'Neil's spirit of humanitarianism and community service by inviting that fan to sit in the Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat.
- Jauss, Bill (September 29, 2003). "Santo: Flag 'my Hall of Fame'". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved November 19, 2010.
- baseball-almanac.com (2009). "Retired Uniform Numbers in the National League". baseball-almanac.com. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
- MLB Advanced Media (2009). "Franchise Retired Numbers". MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
- MLB Advanced Media (2009). "Yankees Retired Numbers". MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
- MLB Advanced Media (2009). "Cardinals Retired Numbers". MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved 2009-10-02.
- Harding, Thomas (January 27, 2014). "Walker OKs Morneau wearing No. 33 with Rockies". 'MLB.com. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
- Saunders, Patrick (2011-07-02 10:29:41-06:00). "Retired numbers: Whose jersey, besides Elway's, is worthy?". The Denver Post. Retrieved 2011-07-04. Check date values in:
- Renck, Troy E. (February 6, 2014). "Todd Helton's No. 17 to be retired by Colorado Rockies on Aug. 17". The Denver Post. Retrieved March 19, 2014.
- "Big Unit beats Dodgers 2-1 in Manny’s LA debut". Yahoo.com. 08-02-2008. Retrieved 2008-08-02. Check date values in:
- "Accidental 24: The Kelvin Torve Interview". Mets by the Numbers. 2008-02-11. Retrieved 2013-10-09.
- Ruiz, M. Teresa. "SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION No. 27". State of New Jersey. State of New Jersey. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
- Blair, Jeff (1993-08-15). "This used to be his playground; Bronfman was always a fan; Original owner steps into Expos Hall of Fame". Montreal Gazette (Montreal Gazette). pp. D.1.
- Baseball Uniforms of the 20th Century, Marc Okkonen, 1991, Sterling Publishing.