May 10, 2007

Hidden: From 0 to 99 and everything in between.: The Sporting News breaks down who are currently the best athletes at each number in sports.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia to general at 07:25 PM - 58 comments

I have such a huge weakness for jersey number lists, and the "best player at present" is a great take on a classic concept. There goes my night.

posted by DrJohnEvans at 10:55 PM on May 10

I liked reading some of the history behind some of these guys number choices...good call guys!

posted by chemwizBsquared at 10:57 PM on May 10

Some thoughts: #2 Derek Jeter Worth mentioning: nobody. Nobody is worth mentioning. This is a lock. #5: Albert Pujols Worth mentioning: Rocco Baldelli? Rocco Baldelli is worth mentioning? Nice player, sure. But, c'mon. #6 Bobby Cox over Joe Torre Worth mentioning: you are a group of imbeciles. #23 LeBron James Worth mentioning: nothing against LeBron in the least, but the list for this number is much weaker than I expected it to be. "23" makes me think of elite athletes: Jordan, Mattingly, Sandberg, etc. #24 I can't talk about this or I will start to cry. #25: Andruw Jones. Worth mentioning: not for me -- I'll take Bonds, even today. #29 Chris Carpenter Worth mentioning: Smoltz is a better pitcher, even before Carpenter got hurt. #32 Shaquille O'Neal Worth mentioning: I wish Shaq had gotten #33 from Miami so Halladay could be here and Shaq could topple Morneau instead. #35 Dontrelle Willis over Justin Verlander Worth mentioning: I am applauding. I like Verlander alot, but this selection is right. Would have been easier to go with last year's darling, but they didn't. #38 Curt Schilling Worth mentioning: not Carlos Zambrano. Not this year. #99 Jason Taylor Worth mentioning: I hope they only mentioned Taguchi so they could tell that story. The list seems pretty baseball-heavy, which of course I like. I wonder if a totally different group attempted the same list how close it would be to this one. Thanks, YYM.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 11:00 PM on May 10

wait, so Jagr was listed as the best #68 of "all-time" but isn't even worth mentioning now?

posted by goddam at 11:51 PM on May 10

Yeah. Two offensive linemen who have never won championships are an infinitely better choice than arguably the best player of his generation who has also won two cups. Honestly, that's why I stopped getting any of the sports rags, the hockey coverage is compulsory at best, normally completely neglected.

posted by tahoemoj at 02:54 AM on May 11

It would've been more interesting if it had covered all sports around the world. But somehow I doubt that any sort of consensus could have been reached then.

posted by Fence at 04:02 AM on May 11

I'd certainly take Gianluigi Buffon over Stoudemire and Bambi Ronaldo at #7 too.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 04:22 AM on May 11

It would've been more interesting if it had covered all sports around the world. There are other sports around the world? There's a world? Being serious for a moment though - there aren't many other sports that need so many players. I just started trying to compile an all time football (the real one, you know, where you use your feet) best XI by jersey number. It's too hard. Maradonna or Pele?

posted by JJ at 05:42 AM on May 11

What about Greg Maddux at #30 (with the Padres) or #31 (Braves and Cubs). How can you leave him out?

posted by roberts at 05:55 AM on May 11

Roberts it is a list for the current best players at each number. Maddux cannot top Martin Brodeur at #30.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 06:11 AM on May 11

Isn't this the whole reason for lists? The arguing? Well, I tend to agree with everyone here - Terrible list. The Andruw Jones one got me started. I never made it to the Jagr omission - and the fact that this guy ignored several sports just smacks of laziness more than focus.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:27 AM on May 11

I like this list and have read the book they got it from. A few mistakes on this list in my part. #1 Amare' over Tracy Mcgrady, its close but Tracy is probably the better pick here. #24 being Jeff Gordan over Champ Bailey(greatest cornerback in the NFL right now) or Kobe Bryent(Best scorer in the NBA right now). Kind of disappointing. "We mention Owens because we all know how he reacts if he doesn't get his props." Best line of the article.

posted by TelamarketersBeware at 09:04 AM on May 11

The Jagr omission is ridiculous. I'm a kansas boy, but Jagr's play while he was in Pittsburg made me a hockey fan. Man, he was incredible. Still is pretty amazing.

posted by brainofdtrain at 09:20 AM on May 11

and the fact that this guy ignored several sports just smacks of laziness more than focus. The article is from the SportingNews which primarily covers American football, baseball, basketball, NASCAR, and is starting to cover a little bit of hockey. It doesn't offer anything really in terms of other sports. That isn't neccesarily a good thing, but it does explain the somewhat narrow scope of the article.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 10:52 AM on May 11

Ovechkin chose No. 8 because his mother, who played basketball in the Olympics for the Soviet Union, wore it. I did not know that. Very interesting. 9. Carson Palmer, QB, Cincinnati Bengals Contenders: Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints; Carlos Guillen, SS, Detroit Tigers. Carlos Guillen may be the most underrated player in baseball. He's been the in the top 3 of shortstops since ARod moved over to 3B, and he keeps getting overlooked. 25. Andruw Jones, OF, Atlanta Braves Worth mentioning: Barry Bonds, OF, San Francisco Giants; Jim Thome, DH, Chicago White Sox. That's just plain ridiculous. Even if you hate the man, he's STILL putting up better numbers TODAY than Jones. 68. Kris Dielman, G, San Diego Chargers Worth mentioning: Mike Wahle, G, Carolina Panthers Wow. That's legendary stupidity or forgetfulness, right there. They would have had a nice filler story on why Jagr chose that number. What, if anything, does it say about the NFL that virtually every team has a No. 80 and that Jerry Rice, who made the 80 great, is widely considered the best wide receiver ever, yet no NHL player will ever wear No. 99 after Wayne Gretzky (it has been retired leaguewide)? Perhaps Gretzky was that much better than Rice. More likely, hockey better lends itself to reverence than football does. It probably has more to do with the rules in the NFL that certain players at certain positions have to wear certain numbers, so "creativity" isn't really an option.

posted by grum@work at 11:25 AM on May 11

No offense to Vince Young or Chipper Jones but how could they not at least include one American soccer star (playing for an American club), which would have to be Landon Donovan at #10 despite my distaste for his recent career moves and let down in Germany last summer?

posted by billsaysthis at 11:37 AM on May 11

That's just plain ridiculous. Even if you hate the man, he's STILL putting up better numbers TODAY than Jones. Offensively. Defensively there are very few who can compare to Jones.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 11:52 AM on May 11

Sure, but he's Barry Freaking Bonds. You gotta catch a lot of gap shots to make up.

posted by yerfatma at 11:57 AM on May 11

Number 24.... Jeff Gordon's car is #24, he's just the driver.

posted by yay-yo at 12:04 PM on May 11

Number 24.... Jeff Gordon's car is #24, he's just the driver. Thats like saying Babe Ruth's jersey is #3, he's just the player.

posted by TelamarketersBeware at 12:15 PM on May 11

Sure, but he's Barry Freaking Bonds. You gotta catch a lot of gap shots to make up. 'Nuff said. I'm from Pittsburgh and we hate the guy but you gotta respect the talent.

posted by Steel_Town at 12:43 PM on May 11

Thats like saying Babe Ruth's jersey is #3, he's just the player. Not exactly. Babe Ruth's jersey didn't hit home runs for him. On the other hand, how Gordon's car performs has a direct relationship to his success.

posted by yay-yo at 12:53 PM on May 11

So did Ruth's bat. There are any number of licensed drivers in America, yet very few have won as many NASCAR races. Must be the car though.

posted by yerfatma at 01:36 PM on May 11

There are any number of licensed drivers in America, yet very few have won as many NASCAR races. Must be the car though. Are you serious? Are you really trying to tell me that the car plays no part in the outcome of a race? If they all drove a stock Chevy Malibu or Ford Focus, I would agree with you. But they don't. Not to mention, the first thing a race car driver says after winning a race is, "The car ran great today!". On the other hand, when they lose it's, "We just never got the car adjusted properly for the track conditions etc...".

posted by yay-yo at 01:58 PM on May 11

Weird...Maddux gets the best ever at #31, but doesn't get a mention in the current-players list. And 77 all time should be Ray Bourque.

posted by jmd82 at 02:11 PM on May 11

I have always found it odd that we credit the horses more than the jockeys and the drivers more than the cars. Regarding Maddux: much as I hate to say it, his age (and the new strike zone they established a few years ago) have turned him into a much more pedestrian pitcher these days. And I say this fully knowing that I am taking my life into my own hands.

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 02:14 PM on May 11

Yeah, I'm biased, but to not even mention Travis Hafner at #48 is a crime against humanity.

posted by avogadro at 06:24 PM on May 11

With all due respect to Lou Gehrig, I believe the All-time #4 must go to Robert Gordon Orr. I recognize that The Iron Horse was one of the all time greats in baseball, but Bobby revolutionized and completely changed the way defence and in fact the entire game of hockey is played.

posted by tommytrump at 08:17 PM on May 11

Actually I think it's as simple as Bobby Orr was better in his sport than Gehrig was in his.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:16 PM on May 11

"Now, we're choosing the current best athlete at each number" #6 Bobby Cox over Joe Torre, both great managers, but would you consider them athletes? #23 LeBron James - can't argue with that, but no mention of Chris Drury. The man has only won a Little League world series, a NCAA championship, a Stanley Cup, and this year has scored more clutch goals in the regular season and playoffs than anyone. The man is a winner where ever he goes.

posted by GOD at 08:35 AM on May 12

And he owes it all to you. While I've got you, can you make it so Jim Magilton doesn't leave Ipswich to take the Northern Ireland job? That'd be super. Thanks.

posted by Mr Bismarck at 01:20 PM on May 12

#24 being Jeff Gordan over Champ Bailey(greatest cornerback in the NFL right now) or Kobe Bryent(Best scorer in the NBA right now). Kind of disappointing. Champ Bailey's been toasted more times than Wonder Bread, and Kobe just started wearing #24 again this season. Jeff Gordon's won 5 Daytona 500s, 4 Brickyards, and 4 NASCAR Championships. I'd consider Manny Ramirez a better 24 than Bailey or Bryant.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 01:45 PM on May 12

Jeff Gordon's won 5 Daytona 500s, 4 Brickyards, and 4 NASCAR Championships. I used to drive on the 405 for two hours everyday and I didn't get any consideration on this list...

posted by yay-yo at 04:21 PM on May 12

#37 is Shaun Alexander with only Kenny Rogers listed as "Worth Mentioning", bu the number should belong to Boston by next year, either Okajima or Patrice Bergeron.

posted by yerfatma at 05:08 PM on May 12

Jeff Gordon's won 5 Daytona 500s, 4 Brickyards, and 4 NASCAR Championships. The article is best athletes TODAY not best acvtive careers. He hasn't won all that this past season, Kobe had a break through season, and Champ Bailey gets more interceptoins and deflections than most cornerbacks in todays NFL.

posted by TelamarketersBeware at 03:29 PM on May 14

If you could post stats instead of just statements to be taken as fact because they fell from your fingers onto the keyboard, that'd be greatly appreciated. From the article: Bailey is the best cornerback in the NFL. Cabrera and Sizemore are two of the best young hitters in baseball. Ramirez is a feared slugger, especially when he has his head on straight. But none of them is as good as Gordon. A four-time champion, he is leading in the points standings this season. He has two wins; he was in position to win three other races. Since the article was written, Gordon has won another race and lengthened his lead in the points standings. He's been competing at the highest level in his sport since 1994. None of the others on the list can say that, with the exception of Ramirez.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:39 PM on May 14

And he owes it all to you. While I've got you...... Laugh of the day. +1

posted by smithers at 06:55 PM on May 14

Champ Bailey:http://www.nfl.com/players/playerpage/133217 note: if you can see this past year he had a career high in total INT, LG, and yards. Kobe bryant:http://www.nba.com/playerfile/kobe_bryant/career_stats.html note: career highs in PPG and free throw percentage. The reason thier not as good at winning as Jeff is because in NASCAR you don't have to rely on your teammates like you do in basketball or football. How many NBA or NFL teams can you name were one player won a playoff series or a championship on his own with no help whatsoever? You can do the research I'm going to workout and go to bed.

posted by TelamarketersBeware at 09:09 PM on May 14

in NASCAR you don't have to rely on your teammates like you do in basketball or football. Yep. Driver jumps out of the car, changes the tires, slams 40 gallons of gas in the tank, makes his own chassis adjustments, tears the tape off the front, clears the windshield tear-offs, then jumps back in the car and takes off. Nope, no teamwork there. On another subject, using Kobe Bryant as an example of someone who depends on his teammates might not be the best strategy. Now, by all means, go to bed.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:36 AM on May 15

I meant as in other drivers helping you out. Not the pit crew sorry for not being clear. And as much as Kobe is a ball hog that explains why he doesn't win as much as Jeff does. He doesn't involve his team like he needs to.

posted by TelamarketersBeware at 08:40 AM on May 15

Hendrick Motorsports has four drivers: Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, and Casey Mears. The four drivers actually do help each other throughout the course of a race, with drafting, passing, etc. Happens the same with other multi-car teams in NASCAR. Granted, NASCAR teamwork is a whole lot different from other teamwork exercised in more traditional "team" sports, but it's still there. Of course, when it comes down to who wins and who loses, all bets are off, but teamwork does play into race strategy. You're dead on about Kobe, though. When he split the scoring/leadership role with somebody else, they won three titles. Since that certain somebody else left, no titles for the Kobe Show.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 10:30 AM on May 15

Agreed.

posted by TelamarketersBeware at 10:44 AM on May 15

No mention of Scott Neidermeyer at all for #27. Is Vladimir Guerrero really that good? I looked at his stats but they are all greek to me.

posted by MrFrisby at 11:06 AM on May 15

You're dead on about Kobe, though. When he split the scoring/leadership role with somebody else, they won three titles. Since that certain somebody else left, no titles for the Kobe Show. Watch it. You're on thin ice there. It wouldn't have to do anything with the fact that they got NOTHING in the trade for Shaq, would it? He doesn't involve his team like he needs to. HE'S NOT A POINT GUARD. How many assists should he average a game? Why don't you compare his numbers to other SHOOTING GUARDS? Then call him a ball-hog once you realize that he averages more assists than anyone else at his position. NASCAR is HARDLY a sport, and it's not fair to compare it to any sport where people are the only factor, considering that the car itself (a machine) is a large part of all of the success of the driver/team.

posted by yay-yo at 12:07 PM on May 15

MrFrisby Vladimir Guerrero can probably be considered one of the best outfielders of the past ten years. If he continues to play at the same level for a few more years he'll probably be a serious candidate for the Hall of Fame when he retires. I would also say that he is best in the majors at hitting pitches well outside of the strike zone.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 12:31 PM on May 15

Vlad's comparable hitters through age 30: 1. Willie Mays 2. Duke Snider 3. Frank Robinson He's gotten MVP votes each of the last 10 years, finished in the top 10 in MVP voting five times, and won it once. That's a pretty good summary of just how elite Vlad is as a hitter, and he's won 6 Gold Gloves. He has 99/100 the calories that A-Rod has, and he's less filling newswise (for good or for bad).

posted by The Crafty Sousepaw at 01:19 PM on May 15

#5: Albert Pujols Worth mentioning: Rocco Baldelli? Rocco Baldelli is worth mentioning? Nice player, sure. But, c'mon. David Wright of the Mets is also #5. He's young and one of the cornerstones of the Mets.

posted by BornIcon at 01:39 PM on May 15

It wouldn't have to do anything with the fact that they got NOTHING in the trade for Shaq, would it? Well that proves the point that Kobe can't win without Shaq. And they got nothing in the trade? Lamaar Odom is nothing? Caron Butler was nothing? Now your right that they didn't get anything worth Shaq, but they are still rising stars who can really lift the Lakers if they got the ball more.

posted by TelamarketersBeware at 02:01 PM on May 15

Now your right that they didn't get anything worth Shaq, but they are still rising stars who can really lift the Lakers if they got the ball more. You obviously know nothing about what you speak because Caron Butler wasn't even on the team this year or last year and Lamar Odom had one of his best years EVER. Not to mention that it makes no sense to get another shooting guard when you have the best in the business. Stop talking sports out of your ... complete lack of knowledge. Well that proves the point that Kobe can't win without Shaq I'm sorry, you didn't notice that they had a winning record the last two seasons? Go look up some stats before you speak. Not even Jordan (god himself) could win with the team that the Lakers have. Also, Shaq is not the only piece missing from their Championship teams. Add in, D-Fish, Big Shot Bob, Brian Shaw, Horace Grant, Devean George etc... You give Shaq way too much credit. When has Shaq ever won a Championship by himself?

posted by yay-yo at 02:40 PM on May 15

If he continues to play at the same level for a few more years he'll probably be a serious candidate for the Hall of Fame when he retires. Wow, that's some standard.

posted by yerfatma at 02:42 PM on May 15

When has Shaq Kobe ever won a Championship by himself? Wow, it works both ways! And to say NASCAR is hardly a sport is just ignorant. Were you going out of your way to start a fight, or just talking out of your...complete lack of knowledge? The car doesn't just come from the factory all shrink-wrapped and ready to race, you know. The team works on some facet of the car's performance nearly every single day from the start of the season in February to the last race in November. During the race, there is constant feedback from the driver regarding the car's specs, handling, etc. NASCAR is a sport as much as football, baseball, hockey, soccer, and, yes, basketball. Just because Kobe doesn't play it doesn't make it less of a sport.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 04:19 PM on May 15

Wow, it works both ways! Glad you can see that. No, I wasn't trying to start a fight. I was just making a perfectly reasonable point. Your point about the car not coming stock to all of the racers proves my point. The car is a major factor, more so than the driver. Which makes NASCAR or any type of motor vehicle racing more of an exibition of speed than a sport. I like racing, but I like drag racing more than NASCAR, because it doesn't take 3 hours to see who's car is faster.

posted by yay-yo at 04:24 PM on May 15

Your ignorance is astounding. It takes immense skill and stamina to be a NASCAR driver, talents that many players in other sports do not have. The car itself is similar to equipment in other sports, with poor equipment teams will get no where, no matter what sport it is.

posted by Ying Yang Mafia at 04:37 PM on May 15

The car itself is similar to equipment in other sports, Uh, NO! The equipment in other sports are all the same and they don't effect the outcome of the game or race or whatever is being played. Yeah, I know you will say something like , " Well the bats could be Mizuno, or Louisville Sluggers", but they are still the same. If there was a "best" bat, or any other type of equipment, everyone would use it. NASCAR apparently agrees with me as they are attempting to make a car that is pretty uniform across the board. It takes immense skill and stamina to be a NASCAR driver I never said that it didn't. It also takes immense skill and stamina to be a long-haul truck driver or a porn star, but those activities are not considered sports.

posted by yay-yo at 04:57 PM on May 15

yay-yo, just so you know, discussing what is/what is not a sport is a banned topic on Sportsfilter.

posted by bperk at 05:25 PM on May 15

yay-yo, just so you know, discussing what is/what is not a sport is a banned topic on Sportsfilter. I never said it wasn't a "sport". It is a "sport", because people believe it is. I was just saying that it isn't fair to compare it to sports that involve competition between PEOPLE and not machines. If there was a hole in the floor of the car and the guys were pedalling like Fred Flinstone, it would be a whole different story. The only reason America has fallen in love with this "sport" is because it's the only sport left that is dominated by WHITE AMERICANS.

posted by yay-yo at 05:32 PM on May 15

Nothing polarizing about that statement. You couldn't acknowledge that maybe some people find the races themselves exciting or perhaps even the fans who watch for nothing more than the crashes? Nope, it must be because everyone who is a NASCAR fan must be a racist. Statements like that make you come off a bit ignorant and that's probably why so many people here take issue with you. Or is that your intent; just to start an argument?

posted by THX-1138 at 06:17 PM on May 15

The car itself is similar to equipment in other sports, Uh, NO! The equipment in other sports are all the same and they don't effect the outcome of the game or race or whatever is being played. Yeah, I know you will say something like , " Well the bats could be Mizuno, or Louisville Sluggers", but they are still the same. If there was a "best" bat, or any other type of equipment, everyone would use it. NASCAR apparently agrees with me as they are attempting to make a car that is pretty uniform across the board. The ''equipment'' as you describe it in NASCAR is not all the same. From my limited experience watching these races, I hear Ford, Pontiac, Dodge, Chevrolet, and Toyota mentioned. These are 4.5 different manufacturers, much like Reebok, Adidas, and Nike are different shoe manufacturers.

posted by tommytrump at 07:13 PM on May 15

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