I started putting together this virtual set of “fun cards” near the end of the 2011 baseball season. I intended to begin posting them in November after the postseason wrapped up, but got busy with other projects and real life. Since I have the ’11 date on the front of the cards, I decided I should go ahead and start posting them now!
Featuring all the retired uniform numbers in baseball, this set includes Hall of Famers, managers, some lesser-known players, and even a handful of broadcasters. I used the team pages on Baseball-Reference.com as the main source of what numbers are retired, although they are missing a couple. There are also some discrepencies between B-R and Wikipedia as to which pre-number players are honored by teams. In these cases, I simply went with B-R’s information.
Billy Meyer, Pittsburgh Pirates
We’ll start with #1, retired by seven MLB teams, honoring four Hall of Fame players and three managers. The most curious selection among these is manager Billy Meyer, whose .412 record is nothing to brag about, nor is the 42-112 record in 1957, worst in Pirates history. Regardless of his short and unsuccessful managerial career, the team chose to retire his uniform number in 1954.
Billy Martin, New York Yankees
Bobby Doerr, Boston Red Sox
Fred Hutchinson, Cincinnati Reds
Ozzie Smith, St. Louis Cardinals
Pee Wee Reese, Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers
Richie Ashburn, Philadelphia Phillies
Nothing better on a lazy Sunday than a manager card. Fred Hutchinson was the much-loved skipper for the Redlegs from 1959-1964, leading them to the pennant in 1961. Previously he had managed the Tigers and Cardinals, and had played for the Tigers from 1939-1953. In 1952 and ’53, he was a player/manager, a concept that seems very foreign today. Can you imagine Mike Scioscia suiting up in catcher’s gear for the Angels or Joe Girardi for the Yankees? As a player, he appeared in the World Series once, pitching in a loss to the Reds.
It was his managerial career for the Reds though that cemented his legend in the Queen City. He won 443 games with the Reds against 372 losses. Hutchinson passed in November of 1964 from lung cancer, having missed parts of the season for health reasons. Hutch’s uniform number 1 is retired by the Reds, and he was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 1965. The Hutch Award is annually “given to an active player who best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire to win.” Five Reds have received the award since it was first given in 1965: Pete Rose, Bobby Tolan, Gary Nolan, Ron Oester, and Sean Casey.