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 #44. 57 different players have donned #44 while playing in Chicago, 39 for the White Sox and a mere 18 for the Cubs.
Anthony Rizzo was acquired by the Cubs on January 6, 2012, the first piece of the rebuilding puzzle that Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer brought to Chicago after their hiring. He started the 2012 season in Triple A, but eventually earned the promotion and took over first base, In 2014, he earned his first All Star nod and his first MVP votes. In 2015, as the Cubs made a surprising run to the NLCS, Rizzo led the league in games and plate appearances and placed fourth in MVP voting.
In 2016, Rizzo replicated his fourth place MVP finish while also picking up a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger award as he helped lead the Cubs to their first World Series title in 108 years. On Opening Night in 2017, he walked the Commissioner’s Trophy on to the field (following a long rain delay). He finished that year with more MVP attention as the Cubs made their third straight NLCS, losing to the Dodgers. Rizzo added 3 additional Gold Gloves to his collection from 2018 – 2020. The shine rubbed off of Rizzo a little in June of 2021, as he announced, on the day Chicago opened back up from COVID restrictions, that he had decided not to get vaccinated, leaving the Cubs as one of 8 teams still under restrictions for failing to reach the 85% plateau. He was then, of course, traded to the Yankees and, just this morning, was placed on the IL with COVID.
On the other side of town, Dan Pasqua donned #44 after being acquired from the Yankees for Richard Dotson following the 1997 season. His first season with the White Sox ended with a career high 20 home runs despite a disappointing .227 average, but a broken wrist suffered during the first week of the 1989 season limited him to just 73 games and 11 home runs. Pasqua lost his regular slot in the lineup in 1990, as manager Jeff Torborg decided to start Sammy Sosa every day. He appeared in 112 games, but had only 325 at bats despite a .274 average.
1991 saw Pasqua appear in a career high 134 games, with a .259 average and 18 home runs, his highest total since 1988. A hamstring injury reduced Pasqua’s playing time again in 1992 and, with George Bell and Bo Jackson splitting time at DH in 1993, Pasqua again was the odd man out. Pasqua’s 1994 season was cut short by arthroscopic knee surgery in May, which limited him to just 11 appearances and only 23 at bats, and he decided to retire after the season.