More about jersey numbers
My column on best-known Minnesota jersey numbers is in Wednesday's print edition. You'll be able to find it online here on Friday.
Now a little quiz on the subject.
• The first team to permanently adopt the practice was the New York Yankees of 1929 (they have since retired 15 numbers, leading me to wonder if they’ll have to go to three-digit numbers some time in the future). It’s now commonplace.
Now match the following sets of numbers to the Minnesota pro franchise or college program that retired them from use:
10, 15, 54, 72, 78.
3, 6, 14, 29, 34. And 42*.
10, 53, 70, 77, 80, 88.
14, 43, 44, 52.
• Which athlete had his number retired in Minnesota and then from another team (same number at both)?
• Who had his number retired for his college career at the University of Minnesota but a different number retired in his Hall of Fame pro career?
• Remember the Minnesota Kicks? One player led them in goals each of their first four seasons; do you remember his name and more importantly, his number?
• Jim Otto of the Oakland Raiders was famous for wearing 00. Has any Minnesota pro athlete ever worn 0?
Find the answers at the end of this post.
Now a few tidbits that didn't work with the column but I thought you might be interested in:
• There weren't a lot of 13's. One was Mike Pagliarulo, who was unsuperstitious enough to wear 13 for nine MLB seasons, 3 with the Twins.
• I really wanted to use the Vikings' Steve Stonebreaker at 82 but I couldn't deny the Wild's leading career goal scorer, Marian Gaborik. Stonebreaker wasn't a great player but isn't that a great name for a football player?
• Bud Grant wore No. 12 when he played football at the University of Minnesota.
• I had to go local with No. 41 (Michael Restovich). Besides apologies to 1960s Vikings running back Dave Osborn, I should say "I'm sorry" to Whitey Skoog, who wore 41 for the Gophers and then went on to play for the Minneapolis Lakers. Skoog is one of eight people who is credited with inventing the jump shot; in Minnesota we prefer to believe it was him and none of the other seven.
• I threw in a couple of local guys to fill in some weak numbers but Darrell Thompson at 39 was deserving anyway. I found good lists to work from for the Vikings, Twins, Gophers football, Timberwolves and the old North Stars. So for any other teams, I might have missed some worthy of consideration.
Anyway, Randy Breuer at 45 had merit beyond being a local guy. To be honest, 45 wasn't the strongest number for the teams whose lists were at my disposal.
As for high school, I found a clip of Randy as a junior, wearing No. 44, and one as a senior wearing 52. In those days it was standard for teams to wear odd numbers at home and evens on the road (or was it the other way around?) and usually they'd be "adjacent," like John Doe would wear 21 at home and 22 on the road (and never use the numbers 6, 7, 8 or 9).
• If I remember right, Darrell Thompson wore 33 at JM.
• If you're really into this topic, here's an interesting site: http://www.bestbythenumbers.com/
-- Craig Swalboski
10, 15, 54, 72, 78 — Gophers football (Paul Giel, Sandy Stephens, Bruce Smith, Bronko Nagurski, Bobby Bell)
3, 6, 14, 29, 34. And 42* — Twins (Harmon Killebrew, Tony Oliva, Kent Hrbek, Rod Carew, Kirby Puckett. 42 is for Jackie Robinson, a number retired for all of Major League baseball).
10, 53, 70, 77, 80, 88 — Vikings (Fran Tarkenton, Mick Tinglehoff, Jim Marshall, Korey Stringer, Cris Carter, Alan Page)
14, 43, 44, 52 — Gophers men's basketball (Lou Hudson, Mychal Thompson, Kevin McHale, Jim Brewer)
2 — Timberwolves (Malik Sealy)
8 — Gophers men's hockey (leading career goal scorer John Mayasich).
1 — Minnesota Wild (the fans are No. 1).
8, 19 — Minnesota North Stars (Bill Goldsworthy, Bill Masterton).
• Rod Carew's 29 was retired by both the Twins and Angels.
• Kevin McHale's 44 is retired from use by Gophers men's basketball, and his Celtics 32 is also retired.
• The Minnesota Kicks scoring standout was No. 9, Alan Willey.
• Twins catcher Junior Ortiz wore 0 in 1990 and 1991.