"You know my name, look up the number"
January 11, 2009 4:12 AM Subscribe
Sports jersey questions: Why is the baseball pitcher with a single-digit number such a rarity? Why do hockey goalies usually wear 1, or something in the 30s? And why are 2-7 usually worn by defensemen?
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (7 answers total)
Apparently only Josh Towers (#7) and Shawn Chacon (#1) wore single-digit numbers as late as last season. I can see the old traditional numbering system in baseball attributing to this in some way (when single digits were assigned to position players), but why would it still be virtually in effect? The only thing I can think of is how prominent a pitcher's back is in a televised game, and for whatever reason, seeing a pitcher alone on the mound with a low number just "looks" weird.
From what I can tell, the NHL used to have a strict numbering system, with forwards starting at 9 on up. But like with baseball, I'm not sure why the pattern would continue to this day. Is it a matter of each successive generation of hockey players picking numbers of their idols from previous generations? Or do they just want to stick to tradition, perhaps even subconsciously?
And since forwards are often smaller than D-men, you'd think you'd see more and more of the latter straying away from the low numbers for their bigger jerseys. And surely there'd be a lot of forwards (or pitchers) who grew up liking a low number (esp "lucky 7") and would want to wear it as long as possible?
Any insights on these (esp if you play in a league), or general numbering trends in baseball, hockey, or other sports?