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 #55. 30 players have donned #55 while playing in Chicago, 13 for the White Sox and 14 for the Cubs.
So maybe this is recency bias kicking in a bit, since he threw a no-hitter last month, but Carlos Rodon gets my nod as the top #55 in Chicago baseball history. Selected with the #3 pick in the first round of the 2014 draft, Rodon made his debut in 2015 and never quite became that top of the rotation force that you would expect given his pedigree. Then, the injuries started. Making only 49 appearances over 4 seasons, Rodon appeared to hit his low point in 2020, when, just back off the IL, manager Rick Renteria brought him out of the bullpen for 2 high leverage situations: a last week of the season game against the Indians while battling for the division title and again in the last Wild Card game against the A’s as the White Sox fought to advance to the next round. Neither appearance went well and after the season, Rodon was non-tendered. However, he was brought back on a smaller deal and, on a cold Wednesday night in April, he was perfect for 8 1/3 innings, before hitting a batter and then finishing up the no-hitter. Maybe, after 6 seasons, he’s finally ready to break through as the ace he was drafted to be?
On the north side, when one thinks of Double Nickels on the back of the uniform, one thinks of Shawn Estes. Signed as a free agent prior to the 2003 season, Estes went 8-11 with a 5.73 ERA as the Cubs surprised pretty much everyone in winning the Central Division title. He did not appear in the post-season and left as a free agent after the season.