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 #38. 89 different players have donned #38 while playing in Chicago, 45 for the White Sox and 44 for the Cubs.
From the time he made his debut in 2001 through the January 2012 trade that ended his Cubs career, Carlos Zambrano took the field with #38 on his back. When he was on his game, which he was for much of his early career on the Northside, he was one of the best in the game, helping the Cubs to division titles in 2003, 2007, and 2008. Towards the end, though, he was known more for the troubles he has caused, whether it was fighting with Michael Barrett, Derrek Lee, or a Gatorade machine before finally walking out on the team after a horrid start against the Braves in the August of 2011, where he was ejected, claimed he was retiring, and then was suspended for the remainder of the season. In January, he was traded to the Marlins.
On the south side of town, Pablo Ozuna donned #38 during his 3+ years with the White Sox. Signing as a free agent in January of 2005, Ozuna saw the most playing time of his career to that point, including scoring the winning run in Game 2 of the ALCS, pinch running for A.J. Pierzynski after the infamous dropped third strike call in the 9th inning, and kicking off he 8 game winning streak to close out the franchise’s first World Series title in 88 years.
Ozuna returned to the White Sox in 2006 and, on May 3, he hit his first career home run. A broken leg suffered in late May of 2007 limited Ozuna to 27 games. He returned from the injury in 2008 and was performing well, hitting .281 in 32 games, but was designated for assignment after a roster crunch in July.