According to Wikipedia, the Tigers have honored Mickey Cochrane, Sam Crawford, Harry Heilmann, Hughie Jennings, George Kell, and Heinie Manush by displaying their names in right field, but B-R‘s page for Detroit shows only Cobb as a pre-numbered honoree.
Chuck Klein, Philadelphia Phillies
Not all of these players are entirely from the “pre-number” era. Klein wore seven different uniform numbers for the Phillies between 1933 and 1944, and none of those numbers for more than three seasons. He did, however, play four seasons prior to the use of uniform numbers.
Christy Mathewson, New York Giants
Pete Alexander, Philadelphia Phillies
Rogers Hornsby, St. Louis Cardinals
Ty Cobb, Detroit Tigers
This will be the last of the Retired Numbers posts that actually feature numbers, but there are a couple more posts to follow, so stayed tuned!
Don Drysdale, Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers
Did you know that Drysdale only received 21% of the vote in his first year on the Hall of Fame ballot? That it wasn’t until his tenth year on the ballot he eclipsed the required 75% for enshrinement? He won a Cy Young Award and was an All-Star several times, but the coolest thing Drysdale ever did was appear in an episode of “The Brady Bunch” in 1970. Barry Williams (who played Greg Brady) has said several times that Drysdale was his favorite guest star.
Trevor Hoffman, San Diego Padres
Carlton Fisk, Chicago White Sox
August Busch, Jr., St. Louis Cardinals
The Fans, Cleveland Indians
Only Gibson has been elected to the Hall of Fame so far, though Glavine will no doubt be inducted also.
Ron Guidry, New York Yankees
But what about Guidry? Should he be in the Hall? In his first full season in the majors, he posted a 16-7 record with a 2.82 ERA. In 1978, he had one of the best seasons ever, going 25-3 with a 1.74 ERA, 248 strikeouts, and 9 shutouts, winning the Cy Young Award unanimously. In 1985, he again posted a fantastic record, 22-6, though his ERA was up a bit and K’s were down. He finished second in Cy Young voting that year to Bret Saberhagen. Guidry dropped off the Hall of Fame ballot in 2002 with less than 5% of the vote. In eight years on the ballot, he never reached even 9% support from the BBWAA. I do not believe Cooperstown would suffer from his inclusion; what do you think?
Bob Gibson, St. Louis Cardinals
Tom Glavine, Atlanta Braves
Larry Dierker, Houston Colt .45s/Astros
Jimmie Reese, California Angels
Another group of solid Hall of Famers, all first ballot selections for immortality.
Willie McCovey, San Francisco Giants
McCovey was “the other Willie,” overshadowed by the legendary Willie Mays. However, McCovey accomplished plenty on his own. Rookie of the Year in 1959, MVP in 1969, three other top 10 finishes, 500+ homers and 1500+ RBI. This same photo was used on the Cards That Never Were blog for a custom ’81 Donruss card.
Dennis Eckersley, Oakland A’s
Hank Aaron, Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves
Hank Aaron, Milwaukee Brewers
Reggie Jackson, New York Yankees
Everyone knows that #42 is retired league-wide for Robinson, and will probably be retired by the Yankees when Mariano Rivera hangs it up, but there is another who wore #42.
Bruce Sutter, St. Louis Cardinals
I’ve never been shy about my disdain toward the relief pitcher position, but my angst is directed more at the middle reliever than the closer. A legitimate position that deserves to be recognized by the Hall of Fame voters, and perhaps no one epitomized the role of the dominant closer more than Sutter in the 1970s and 80s. Though his career was relatively short (12 seasons), he was able to compile 300 saves while being named to six All-Star squads. He won the Cy Young Award in 1979 with the Cubs, and received votes in four other seasons. If it weren’t for relievers like Sutter, we might not have guys like Rivera today.
Eddie Mathews, Boston/Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves
Tom Seaver, New York Mets
Jackie Robinson, Brooklyn Dodgers
We skip over #38, which has not been retired by any major league team yet.
Don Wilson, Houston Astros
Tragedy is the theme with several of these retired numbers, and Wilson is no different. During his career, he was an All-Star and pitched two no-hitters. His second no-hitter came against the Reds at Crosley Field, one day after Cincinnati’s Jim Maloney no-hit the Astros. Has that ever happened before?
The tragedy comes with Wilson’s death in 1975. He was found in the passenger seat of his car, with the motor running, in his garage. His son, who was inside the house, also perished from the fumes, and his wife and daughter both slipped into comas. The death was ruled accidental.
Roy Campanella, Brooklyn Dodgers
Danny Murtaugh, Pittsburgh Pirates
Gaylord Perry, San Francisco Giants
Perry is best known for his spitball, though he was not ejected for throwing the illegal pitch until 1982, his 21st season in the bigs. That is perhaps the reason he was made to wait until his third year of eligibility before gaining induction into the Hall of Fame. Perry was the first pitcher in history to win the Cy Young Award in each league (1972 with the Indians and 1978 with the Padres). He compiled a 134-109 record and a 2.96 ERA for the Giants, who retired #36 in his honor in 2005.
Robin Roberts, Philadelphia Phillies
Casey Stengel, New York Yankees
Casey Stengel, New York Mets
A Hall of Fame pitcher, a future Hall of Famer slugger, and a guy who has awesome hair.
Randy Jones, San Diego Padres
Jones led the National League in losses in 1974. The next season, he won 20 games, led the NL in ERA, and came in second in Cy Young voting. The next season, two years after leading the league in losses, he won the Cy Young Award, winning the most games in the league. He never again had a winning record, and finished his career losing more games than he won, but the Padres saw fit to retire #35 in his honor in 1997, seventeen years after he threw his last pitch for the team.
Frank Thomas, Chicago White Sox
Phil Niekro, Atlanta Braves
Three players, all Hall of Famers, honored by five teams make up the retired #34’s.
Kirby Puckett, Minnesota Twins
While I wouldn’t call it a “controversy,” there is some debate over the ease with which Puckett was elected to Cooperstown. In a career shortened by eye troubles, Puckett fell short of the “magic numbers” normally accompanying a first-ballot selection. He was a 10-time All-Star in just twelve big league seasons, leading the league in hits four times, batting average once, and thrice topping 100 RBI in a season. His numbers are, however, very similar to Don Mattingly‘s career totals, who has never received even 30% of the Hall vote in eleven years on the ballot. While I do believe Puckett belongs in the Hall of Fame, I also believe there is room for Mattingly as well.
Nolan Ryan, Houston Astros
Nolan Ryan, Texas Rangers
Rollie Fingers, Oakland A’s
Rollie Fingers, Milwaukee Brewers