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.