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 #6. 67 different players have donned #6 while playing in Chicago, 27 for the White Sox, who haven’t retired it but have not issued it since 1995, and 42 for the Cubs.
In his second go-around with the Cubs after being selected off waivers from the Mariners on July 6, 1998, Glenallen Hill, wearing #6. hit .351 with 8 homers and 23 RBIs in 48 games. He appeared in one game during the NLDS against the Braves, where he was one for three with a run batted in and a stolen base. Returning in 1999, Hill hit .300 with 20 home runs and 55 runs batted in. On May 11, 2000, Hill became the first, and thus far only player to hit a home run on the three-story residential building across Waveland Ave. from Wrigley Field in the second inning of the Cubs’ 14–8 loss to the Brewers. With the Cubs far out of contention, he was traded to the Yankees on July 23.
On the south side of town, Jorge Orta signed with the White Sox out of the Mexican Baseball League in 1972 and made the team out of spring training. Playing shortstop, Orta batted just .211 through the middle of May before losing his job. He returned to Chicago when rosters expanded that September. Orta was shifted to second base for the 1973 season after batting over .500 in spring training. Playing through injuries for much of the year, he batted .266 and tied for second in the league with eighteen errors among second basemen.
Orta began the 1974 season batting at the bottom of the White Sox line-up but was moved up to the two spot Chuck Tanner’s batting order, hitting .411 with 23 runs scored in the month of June. For the season, his .316 batting average was second only to Rod Carew. In 1975, Orta batted .296 with four home runs and 46 RBIs in the first half, good enough to be named to the All-Star team. He topped that by hitting .314 with seven home runs and 37 RBIs in the second half.
New manager Paul Richards opted to move Orta to third base for the 1976 season, which proved to be a poor decision. Orta was eventually moved into the outfield and the Sox narrowly avoided a hundred losses while Orta hit .274 with hitting a career-high fourteen home runs and scoring a career high 74 runs. Orta returned to second base when Bob Lemon took the reins as manager in 1977. The surprising White Sox, dubbed the South Side Hitmen, won 90 games and Orta, now batting third, finished second on the team with a career high 84 RBIs. He remained at second in 1978, but new player-manager Don Kessinger deployed Orta as the designated hitter in 1979, a role Orta struggled with, putting up a .212 batting average, three home runs and 21 RBIs through June 27. Orta returned to second base in the middle of July, and batted .313 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs the rest of the way on his way to free agency.