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.