By The Numbers – 51

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 #51.  44 different players have donned #51 while playing in Chicago, 20 for the White Sox and 24 for the Cubs.

Juan Cruz, wearing #51, made his big league debut for the Cubs on August 21, 2001, against the Brewers.  He went 3–1 with a 3.22 ERA in his first 8 starts, and recorded his first two major league hits on October 2.  Cruz went 3–11 with a 3.98 ERA in 45 games in 2002, picking up his first career save.  He got off to a good start in 2003, striking out 6 consecutive Mets on Opening Day, becoming only the second Cubs reliever to achieve the feat.  Things went a bit downhill from there, finishing the year 2–7 with a 6.05 ERA while making 6 starts, despite being sent back down to Iowa in June.  He threw one scoreless inning during the NLDS against the Braves.  That would end up being his final Cub appearance, as he was traded to those same Braves the following March.

Dane Dunning was acquired by the White Sox as part of the return for Adam Eaton in 2016.  He made his major league debut in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, going 2-0 in 7 starts with a 3.97 ERA.  He started Game 3 of the Wild Card series against the A’s, getting pulled after 2/3rds of an inning as the White Sox were eliminated.  That was his final White Sox appearance, as he was traded to the Rangers in exchange for Lance Lynn this past December.

Connecting The City Part 2

Last weekend, the White Sox debuted their City Connect uniforms, which, according to Nike, reimagines a teams look and “celebrates the bond between each team and its city.”  The next team up was just up the road, as the Cubs released their version, to be worn for the first time Saturday against the Cardinals, and which they claim “ties together all of Chicago’s neighborhoods.”

The jerseys and pants are mostly a dark navy blue, with Wrigleyville across the front in the shape of the marquee on the front of the stadium.  The hat, navy with a light blue brim, has a six-pointed star, from the city’s flag, in the middle of the traditional C.  The sleeve patch features the municipal device of Chicago, representing the north, south and main branches of the Chicago River.

Much like the White Sox edition, these uniforms could have been much worse.  The initial leaks of the jersey looked like trash, but combining them with pants of the same color makes it work much better.  Including the star from the flag is a little obvious, but it is underplayed and using the municipal device, which, to be honest, I wasn’t aware of before this, was a nice change of pace.  Again, as a one-off, these won’t be so bad, but I’d hate to see them become part of the regular rotation.

By The Numbers – 52

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 #52.  40 players have donned #52 while playing in Chicago, 20 each for the White Sox and the Cubs.

Acquired at the trade deadline in 2004 from the Yankees, Jose Contreras joined the White Sox rotation for the remainder of the season, pitching inconsistently and finishing with a 5-4 record and a 5.30 ERA in 13 starts.  He got off to a slow start in 2005, entering the All Star break with a 4-3 record, but an improved arm angle allowed Contreras to catch fire in the second half, becoming one of the most dominating pitchers in the league.  He finished the year with a 15-7 record with a 3.61 ERA, as the White Sox won their first AL Central title in 5 years, and earned the nod in Game 1 of the ALDS, the ALCS, and the World Series.

He started 2006 9-0, breaking the team record for consecutive regular season victories previously held by LaMarr Hoyt and Wilson Alvarez.  After the All Star break, Contreras started to come back down to Earth, due in part to the extra workload from the previous post-season.  The rest of his White Sox career was as inconsistent as it began, until his 2009 trade to the Rockies.

On the north side of town, Jim Bullinger wore #52 with pride from 1992-1996.  Drafted as a shortstop in 1986, he was converted to a pitcher full time in 1990.  2 years later, he made his debut with the Cubs in a forgettable appearance against the Giants.  His best season was the strike-shortened 1994, when he went 6-2 with a 3.60 ERA as he split time between the rotation and the bullpen.  He left as a free agent following the 1996 season.

By The Numbers – 53

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 #53.  34 players have donned #53 while playing in Chicago, 14 for the White Sox and 20 for the Cubs.

Signed prior to the 2015 season, Melky Cabrera donned #53 for 2 1/2 seasons for the White Sox.   Cabrera hit .273 with 36 doubles, 12 home runs, and 77 RBIs in 2015.  2016 was more of the same, as Cabrera finished the year batting .296 with 14 home runs.  He was hitting .295 with 13 home runs and 56 RBIs in 98 games in 2017 before being traded to the Royals at the trade deadline.

On the north side of town, the #53 that sticks out the most is Trevor Cahill, who worked out of the bullpen for the Cubs in 2015 and 2016.

By The Numbers – 54

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 #54.  30 players have donned #554 while playing in Chicago, 18 for the White Sox and 16 for the Cubs.

I guess if a Hall of Famer wears the same number on both sides of town, he should be the pick, no?  Rich “Goose” Gossage was selected by the White Sox in the 9th round of the 1970 draft.  He made his debut in April of 1972 against the Royals and spent most of the next four seasons in the bullpen for the White Sox, culminating with an All Star appearance and 26 saves in 1975.  So, of course, in 1976, he was moved in to the starting rotation, going 9-17 with a 3.94 ERA in 29 starts, though he did earn his second straight All Star appearance.  Following the season, as Bill Veeck tried to find a way to use free agency to his advantage, Gossage was traded, along with Terry Forster, to the Pirates for Richie Zisk, who was entering his walk year.

After becoming one of the most dominant stoppers of the late 70s and early 80s, Gossage returned to Chicago in 1988, when he was acquired by the Cubs from the Padres in exchange for Mike Brumley and Keith Moreland.  In 46 appearances, he went 4-4 with a 4.33 ERA, earning only 13 saves.  He was released towards the end of spring training in 1989.


Gossage returned to Chicago as a visitor in 1991 and gave up a walk-off grand slam to Robin Ventura in what might just be my favorite regular season home run.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2008.

iTunes Top 200 Artists: #31-40

It’s been 4 years since we last counted down the Top 200 artists in my iTunes library.  Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at the artists that have entertained me the most based on number of plays from late 2007 through January 1, 2021.

We continue today with the next batch of 10 artists, with ties at 50th, 48th, and 43rd.

#40: Harry Caray
iTunes stats: 208 plays
Previous ranking: #39

A scant 61% increase, due in part to my attending no baseball games in 2020 due to the corona virus, for the legendary broadcaster for both the White Sox and the Cubs.

#39: The Offspring
iTunes stats: 210 plays
Previous ranking: #44

The winners of the 1999 Billboard Music Award for Modern Rock Artist of the Year gained 96 new listens from the 9 tunes in my collection, inching them up five spots in the rankings.

#38: Taylor Swift
iTunes stats: 212 plays
Previous ranking: #71

The 10-time Grammy winner, who is halfway towards an EGOT, saw a 248% increase with 151 new plays, thanks in part to a new album added to the collection.

#37: The Rolling Stones
iTunes stats: 213 plays
Previous ranking: #56

The 1989 inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame added 129 additional listens, which moved them up 19 spots in the rankings.

#36: Steam
iTunes stats: 220 plays
Previous ranking: #29

Another casualty of the White Sox victory playlist getting fewer plays over the last few years, especially this last summer thanks to the corona virus, Steam drops 7 spots in the rankings due to only 56 additional plays.

#35: Florence + The Machine
Continue reading →

By The Numbers – 55

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.

Opening Back Up

With approval from city and state officials, the White Sox and the Cubs both announced yesterday that they would be increasing capacity to 60% later this month, with the White Sox starting on May 24 against the Cardinals and the Cubs on May 28 against the Reds.  For this weekend’s games against the Royals, the White Sox will feature two vaccinated-only sections without social distancing for fans showing proof of vaccination.  The Cubs will do the same for their series against the Nationals next week.  Fans will still be required to wear masks, although very few actually do.

The expectation is that both teams will be back to full capacity by the end of June, which may jumble up plans on how to sell tickets for the early part of next month.  Other than the additional capacity added to games already on sale, neither team has announced future sales plans as of this morning.

By The Numbers – 56

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 #56.  19 different players have donned #56 while playing in Chicago, and, spoiler alert, it has been retired on one side of town.

Mark Buehrle joined the White Sox organization in 1998, drafted in the 38th round.  Despite his lowly draft status, he rose quickly through the system, first coming up during the 2000 season, working out of the bullpen for the eventual division champions.  He moved into the rotation the following season, and stayed there for the next 11 seasons.  During that time, there were numerous memorable appearances, many of which I was privileged to see in person.

  • The 2007 no-hitter against the Rangers
  • The 2009 perfect game against the Rays
  • Winning Game 2 of the 2005 ALCS against the Angels, thanks to AJ’s heads-up baserunning, and starting the streak of 4 straight complete games
  • The 1 hour 36 minute game against the Mariners in 2005
  • The no look, through his legs flip to Paul Konerko on Opening Day 2010 against the Indians
  • And, of course, his performance in the 2005 World Series, starting Game 2, getting a no decision, and coming in to pitch the 14th inning and earning the save in Game 3

In White Sox annals, Buehrle is currently fifth all-time in strikeouts, sixth in games started, and eighth in wins and innings pitched.  Number 56 was retired in his honor in 2017.

Slim pickings for #56 on the north side of town, but centerfielder Brian McRae, who spent parts of 3 seasons with the Cubs, gets the nod.  McRae was acquired from the Royals in April of 1995, following the early season lockout that continued from the strike the year before.  He was sent to the Mets, along with Mel Rojas and Turk Wendell, in August of 1997.