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 #8. 82 different players have donned #8 while playing in Chicago, 40 for the White Sox and 42 for the Cubs.
Vincent Edward “Bo” Jackson joined the White Sox as a free agent on April 3, 1991 after being released by the Royals following a catastrophic hip injury suffered in January during the NFL playoffs as a member of the Raiders. “In making the business decision,” owner Jerry Reinsdorf said at the time, “I assume he will not play this year. If he does, it will be a big bonus.” Jackson did spend most of 1991 on the disabled list, rehabbing the injury, but did eventually manage to make his way back to the field. He appeared in 23 games, hitting only .225 with 3 home runs.
Diagnosed with avascular necrosis of the hip joint and having lost all of the cartilage supporting his hip, Jackson decided to undergo a hip replacement surgery, keeping him on the shelf for the entire 1992 season. While rehabbing, Jackson promised his mother he would return to the major leagues and hit a home run for her. Unfortunately, Jackson’s mother died before he could return, but, in his first at bat of the 1993 season, and his first with an artificial hip, he hit a home run to right field against the Yankees at Comiskey Park. On September 27, Jackson belted a three-run home run off of the Mariners to help the White Sox clinch their first AL West Division title in a decade. Jackson ended up appearing in 85 games for the White Sox, hitting .232 and hitting 16 home runs while driving in 45. He appeared in 3 of the 6 ALCS games against the Blue Jays, going hitless in 10 at bats. Following the season, he became a free agent, ending his White Sox playing career. In 2014, he returned to the organization as an ambassador, a role he continues to play today.
A free agent following the 1986 season, Andre Dawson was looking for a new home with natural grass that would be easier on his injured knees. With MLB owners colluding against the players by agreeing not to sign free agents, Dawson found himself without takers. When the Cubs opened their spring training camp that spring, Dawson and his agent, Dick Moss, arrived with a signed blank contract in an attempt to get a job. GM Dallas Green derided the stunt as a “dog and pony show,” but, after reviewing the contract, Green and Moss reached an agreement on a lowball salary of $500,000, the second-lowest salary amongst the team’s starters. The Cubs easily got their money’s worth, as Dawson became the Cubs’ starting right fielder, and hit a major league leading 49 home runs and was named NL MVP, despite the Cubs finishing in last place.
Dawson played five more seasons with the Cubs and was one of the franchise’s most popular players during that time. His worst individual season came in 1989, when the Cubs won the NL East title. During the NLCS, Dawson slumped terribly, hitting .105 as the Giants beat the Cubs 4 games to 1. Dawson’s .507 career slugging percentage with the Cubs is fourth highest in team history.