By Phil Hecken
After last weekend’s highly popular “What is Each City’s Most Sacred Uniform Number?” piece (in fact aside from the huge number of reader comments in the actual comments section, I received a boatload of E-mails on this), I thought a bit of a riff on that topic might be a fun follow-up.
“What number is the MOST important to each sport?”
By that I mean, when we think of a sport, there are certain numbers that are in and of themselves “sacred,” regardless of what team or player is wearing said number. Let’s take the sport of soccer (football for those of us not reading in North America) — I admittedly don’t know much about the sport of soccer, but I do know this — traditionally the ‘best’ player on each squad is assigned (or requests) the number 10. In fact, better writers than I have opined that “a player who wore his team’s No. 10 shirt represented the most influential or creative force on the field. More specifically, the number was often given to a team’s best playmaker.”
But that’s specific to soccer — how about the other sports? I’d have to say that football, due to it’s somewhat rigid numbering system, and which basically requires certain skill players to wear certain numbers, while other great players wore higher numbers, offers some good choices position. But usually, we think of the great football players at the positions of quarterback, running back or wide receiver. Or sometimes all three. But what’s the “best” number? Growing up, I always thought the best quarterbacks wore Number 12, running backs were Number 32, and more recently, the best wide receivers wore Number 80. But what is the number the “best” football player wears? Can we even assign one — or is that something that we need to argue over on a position-by-position basis?
The other sports are less clear-cut — although you could make an argument in baseball that the two most important numbers were Number 3 and Number 42, I don’t think of those as “quintessential” baseball numbers. I know that growing up (granted, there weren’t all that many numbers to choose from), no one really wanted #3 (#42 was almost never available), but a lot of the kids wanted to wear Number 5 or Number 7. But no one in my neighborhood was particularly a Johnny Bench fan, and the Mick was a bit before our time. I happened to like Number 2, but that was long before Jeter made it popular (and before he was born), and I’d have been hard-pressed at the time to name any major leaguers who sported that number.
I didn’t play a lot of hoop or hockey, but if given the choice of a uni number then, I also chose “2” — yet in football, I always wanted to wear “32” because to me, that was the football number (that and I wasn’t much of a quarterback). In hoop, some guy named Jordan hadn’t popularized ’23’ so I always liked numbers of the popular players — #32, #33 and #10, and I guess I’d think of those as the numbers that defined hoop players.
Hockey, similarly, drew me to #5, #10 and #4. Still, I don’t really think of any of those as “hockey numbers” per se. One could make an argument that the number for hockey is #99, but who else besides the Great One has worn it? Ergo, unlike soccer’s #10, I would never consider 99 to be hockey’s quintessential digits.
So, if we were to even attempt to place a “number” that is THE number for sport, how would we do it and what would it be? Could we even assign just one number (or two or three)? And if so, would we do so by assigning that number to the best player of that sport who ever wore the number (say, Gretzky or Jordan, with 99 & 23 respectively), or would it be because of a history of great players (like #12 or #32 in football) having worn it? Or is it something else? Like, does Ruth’s #3 or Jackie’s #42 deserve such a lofty place that either or both could define baseball. Is that even possible?
What say you readers? Let’s play the numbers game.
by Rick Pearson
Mick’s retelling of this varies ever-so-slightly…
And of course, the full-size.
We have another new set of tweaks, er…concepts today. After discussion with a number of readers, it’s probably more apropos to call most of the reader submissions “concepts” rather than tweaks. So that’s that.
So if you’ve concept for any sport, or just a tweak or wholesale revision, send them my way.
Please do try to keep your descriptions to ~50 words (give or take) per image — if you have three uniform concepts in one image, then obviously, you can go a little over, but no novels, OK? OK!. You guys have usually been good with keeping the descriptions pretty short, and I thank you for that.
And so, lets begin:
We start with Allen Wahlström, who has a tweak for the Horned Toads:
So with the NIKE leak of a week ago, I thought of something along the same line of thought and “tweaked” it.
Going to the Big 12 with staid helmet decals kept me in check, and I went for simple but bold and aggressive…
Next up is John Majka, who has a special new logo for next year’s Miami Marlins:
Just after the new Marlins’ logo was leaked, I thought I’d take a stab at patch design for the Marlins’ 20th Anniversary (or Season… math is not my strong suit!)
And we close with kind of an odd one. Bryan Moss, who has ideas for the
msPaint Chiefs & Panthers:
Just put together a couple of concepts
And that’s it for today. Back with more tomorrow.
When you think your team enters the season without hope, well Ya Gotta Believe. (h/t to Dan Cichalski)
OK everyone. Have a great Saturday and I will catch you fine folks tomorrow.
“Non-Irish people seem to get a kick out of wearing green plastic crap and drinking in public.” — Conn Nugent