Thursday, October 18, 2007

You Can't Front On That

There are only nine. Boston, Cleveland, the Yanks, Seattle, and Toronto in the AL. Arizona, Atlanta, San Diego, and San Francisco in the NL.

In 2007, these were the only nine teams (out of 30) who wore their numbers only on their backs. All the other teams, besides having them on the back, had them on the front of the jersey, either at home, away, or both, or, in the Phillies' case, on the sleeve.

Isn't that crazy? I read here that after the Dodgers started the front-number trend in 1952, "by the 1970s most clubs had adopted the number-on-front style that is still prevalent today." And I thought, Well, that's certainly wrong. Then I looked into it, to find out that I was the one who was wrong.

I just don't think of that as the norm. Maybe that's because the two teams I've watched the most have never had numbers anywhere but on their backs. (Of course, I'm only talking about uniform, not helmet, hat, cleats, etc.) After a little more research, I realized that the Sox and Yanks are the only two teams of the current 30 who have never had their numbers anywhere besides the back.

Arizona had them on the front as late as 2000. Atlanta: as late as 1986. San Diego: as late as 2003. And San Fran: as late as 1982. The Phillies had them on the front as late as 1991, and have had them on the sleeve ever since. In the AL, Cleveland had them as late as 1993, Seattle as late as 1992, and Toronto as late as 2003.

That leaves the Red Sox and Yankees. Why do I get the feeling neither is gonna budge on this issue? If you're looking for a tie-breaker, though, the Yanks have had several numbers on their sleeves to honor players who died, like 1, 5, and 7, for Martin, DiMaggio, and Mantle. So, technically, the Red Sox are the only current franchise to not have worn any kind of free-standing number anywhere on the shirt or pants, besides the back of the shirt. A win for us.

Beckett looks to keep the winning going tonight in Cleveland. A win, and we go back home, and the pressure starts mounting the Indians' minds.

[As always, I went here for my uniform-related research.]

[Crap, there was that 9 on the sleeve for Ted when he died. It was right there on the list at that site. Myyyy mistake. Okay, so we've worn the least amount of numbers on our non-backs. Still a win.]


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