In 1929, uniform numbers appeared on the back of baseball jerseys for the first time, thanks to the Indians and the Yankees. By 1937, numbers finally appeared across all uniforms, both home and away, across both major leagues. Since that time, 81 distinct numbers have been worn by members of the White Sox, while the Cubs boast 76.
Today, we continue our look at those players, picking our favorite, if not the best, player to wear each uniform number for both Chicago teams with #45. 92 different players have donned #45 while playing in Chicago, but only one of whom notched the final out in a World Series clincher.
Bobby Jenks joined the White Sox organization on December 17, 2004, when he was selected off waivers from the Angels. After starting the 2005 season in Double A, he was called up to the big league club on July 5 and made his major league debut the following day, ending the season as the closer after Shingo Takatsu proved ineffective and Dustin Hermanson went down with a back injury. In the ALDS against the Red Sox, he threw 3 scoreless innings and picked up 2 saves in the 3 game sweep. Thanks to the 4 complete games in the ALCS against the Angels, Jenks was well rested for the World Series. He appeared in all 4 games against the Astros, throwing 5 innings and earning the save in Games 1 and 4.
With a World Championship under his belt, Jenks became the full time closer in 2006, earning his first All Star nod and becoming the first White Sox pitcher to notch a save in the Mid-Summer Classic. 2007 was a good year for Jenks, as he made his second straight All Star team and tied a major league record by retiring his 41st consecutive batter, becoming the first reliever to achieve the feat. He continued his dominant ways in 2008, as the White Sox bounced back in to contention, and he threw a scoreless inning and picked up the save in the only White Sox victory in the ALDS against the Rays.
Jenks started to struggle in 2009, as he saw his save total drop to 29, his lowest full-season total to date. 2010 was even worse, as his ERA rose again, to 4.44, and his WHIP was up again as well. Despite his highest strike out total since 2006, he ended the year with a 1-3 record and only 27 saves. Following the season, the White Sox declined to tender him a contract for the 2011 season, making him a free agent.
On the north side of town, reliever Tom Gordon donned #45 in 2001 and the first part of 2002, earning 27 saves before being shipped to the Astros for, basically, nothing.