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Story Archives: Sports stars by the numbers
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|Sports stars by the numbers|
I saw a story the other day on Herschel Walker and his battle with personality disorder and the first thing I thought about was the number 34.
Funny how we identify sports greats with numbers. So it got me to thinking about numbers and I began thinking about those numbers and what former athlete comes to my mind when I think of that number.
Some of those numbers have been retired, but other numbers were just pleasant memories of stars gone by who made an impression on me throughout my life.
For the record, on July 4, 1939, Lou Gehrig became the first Major League Baseball player to have his number, 4, retired by his team. Since then, over 120 other people have had their numbers retired.
Seeing as how my father passed away from Lou Gehrig's Disease in 1997, that former Yankee will always be someone I think about, especially after reading a biography on Gehrig by Jonathan Eig that was fascinating.
But I honestly have to say Gehrig did not come to mind first when I thought of No. 4. Bet you can guess who did on that one. As for that matter, Walker is not my No. 34.
Anyway, here's my list.
00 - Jim Otto. A lot of old-timers (gosh, I guess I'm among that list now) will remember this guy with the Oakland Raiders who was as mean as a center can get - and as good.
1 - Billy Martin. How many times did I watch that No. 1 uniform come flying out of the dugout. As colorful a manager as you will find. He had to be a Yankee.
2 - Leo "The Lip" Durocher. This quote said it all: "I never did say that you can't be a nice guy and win. I said that if I was playing third base and my mother rounded third with the winning run, I'd trip her up."
3 - Easy one, Babe Ruth. And without the steroids (just a lot of beer and snacks).
4 - Brett Favre - enough said.
5 - I'll always remember how fluid Mike Miley was at quarterback for LSU. He was also an outstanding baseball player. His life ended tragically in a car accident in 1977, soon after graduating from LSU.
6 - Bill Russell. Even that number looked little on him.
7 - Bert Jones. What a competitor. What a talent.
8 - Archie Manning running for his life in New Orleans
9 - Steve McNair. To this day I don't know that I have seen anyone do the things McNair did at Alcorn State. He was truly magical.
10 - Rusty Staub, the redhead from New Orleans was one of the few good players when I first started following the Houston Astros. OK, I'm not that old to remember him on the Houston Colts.;
11 - Elvin Hayes. "Big E" from Rayville was one of the first "big-name" autographs I ever got at a New Orleans Jazz game. It left quite an impression.
12 - Joe Willie Namath - He was and is one of a kind. Still can't believe he played for Bear Bryant.
13 - Tommy Hodson - Earthquake Game would have been enough. But he did so much more.
14 - Michael Clayton - As good a receiver as he was, the tackle he made on the kickoff team against Texas was a knockout.
15 - My first football jersey was No. 15. Green and gold. Bart Starr.
16 - Terry Robiskie. He ran almost straight up - for a lot of yards in Tigertown.
17 - Beer-gut Billy Kilmer. How good would he have been if he would have ever been in shape?
18 - Jacob Hester. Yeah, he's still got some playing days ahead. But the memories of this guy at LSU in 2007 will live just as long as those Billy Cannon replays.
19 - Johnny Unitas. Seems like everyone wanted to be Johnny U. on the playground.
20 - A number that will never be worn again at LSU - thanks to Billy Cannon. I wonder if he has talked to Ryan Perrilloux?
21 - Dalton Hilliard - More moves than one of those Dancing with the Stars pros.
22 - Little Joe Labruzzo. Played big.
23 - Pete Maravich. What a show he put on at LSU. Who cared how much LSU lost by - how many points did Pete have tonight?
24 - Leonard Mitchell. One of the most fluid basketball players I've seen at LSU. A freak accident while wrestling with his brother kept him from being really great.
25 - Josh Reed. What a worker.
26 - Herb Adderly. Made the Dallas Cowboy pass defense even better.
27 - Juan Marichal - You couldn't help but see this former San Francisco Giant's number with the high kick he had.
28 - Marshall Faulk - Little guy could go on that artificial turf.
29 - Rod Carew - The guy was truly one of the best hitters in the
30 - Sammy Grezzafi - One of my all-time favorite Tigers. He was dazzling at returning kicks.
31 - Jim Taylor - From Tigertown to Titletown. What a bruising runner this guy was.
32 - Sandy Koufax - One of those guys who would be an All-Star today.
33 - The Diesel - Shaquille O'Neal.
34 - Earl Campbell - As Bum Phillips said, he was slow to get back up, but even slower to get down.
35 - Rusty Brown - this former LSU cornerback was a kamikazee on special teams.
36 - Eddy Furniss - you know I had to get a baseball Tiger in here somewhere.
37 - Tommy Casanova. Talk about a true All-American in every since of the word. His two punt returns for touchdowns against Ole Miss in 1970 are still vivid in my mind.
38 - Steve Rogers - When this New Orleans Saint running back had his head on right (or his nose away from certain substances), he was a man among boys.
39 - Larry Csonka - The guy could have played middle linebacker and been All-Pro.
40 - Gale Sayers - With healthy knees, he could have been even better.
41 - Wes Unseld - What a work ethic.
42 - George Bevan - His blocked extra point against Auburn lives in Tiger lore. A little guy who injured his Achilles tendon to such a degree that he spent 32 months on crutches, but still earned a starting spot.
43 - Eddie Ray - He was a workhorse for the Tigers in the late 60s..
44 - Don Redden. He was the epitome of a team player for Dale Brown. Another sad tale of dying young.
45 - Mike Anderson - Great linebacker. Great restaurant.
46 - Chuck Muncie - Speed and power.
47 - Hokie Gajan. What an overachiever. One of those guys you think will have someone else step ahead of him each year. But he just kept performing.
48 - Brad Davis - Jones to Davis - touchdown! What a night.
49 - Todd Kinchen - What a waterbug this guy was. And what heart!
50 - Ralph Sampson - Towered above everyone in more ways than one.
Next week - 51 through 100.
|Frank Morris Murder Series|