This daily blogging thing is catching up to me. I've really enjoyed it so far, but man, I'd rather not have to write a baseball blog post at 11:00 on a Saturday night. Alas, this is the life I have chosen for 2017. Before I get into today's post, how about Kawhi Leonard? That man is a beast—and only 25 years old. He reminds me a lot of another 25-year-old superstar, Mike Trout. There are so many parallels between the two that I might have to write a post about them this week. Anyway, let's get to baseball.
Monday's podcast will be episode 90 (crazy!), so I've been reflecting back on the 80s this weekend. It was quite possibly our best set of podcasts; the 80s contained interviews with Dan Rosenheck (Economist), Craig Edwards (FanGraphs), Michael Coffin (Astros AA announcer), and the Eric Roseberry (legendary podcaster). Throw in a brothers road trip episode and our PECOTA over/under game and you get the best AFITB run in history. Can the 90s top that? Tune in to find out!
As I thought about our past 10 episodes, I started thinking about baseball jersey numbers in the 80s. Jersey numbers have long been a fascination of mine; whether you want to admit it, I think our perception of a player can be swayed with either a great or poor number choice. A more in-depth look at the topic is scheduled for the dog days of summer, so I won't get into that here. Instead, I'd like to discuss the baseball players that have chosen to wear numbers 80-89 in MLB history.
Here's a stat for you: only 24 players have decided to wear an 80s jersey. Half of those belong to one number. Please guess which one that is. Write it down. Pass that sheet to the person next to you. Actually, there's a sporcle quiz you might enjoy.
Did you guess 88? That's the answer. It was made famous by this guy in Baltimore.
Albert used number 8 up until his time with the Orioles; Cal Ripken Jr.'s presence forced Belle to add the second 8. It's very similar to Ivan Rodriguez picking number 77 in Houston (Craig Biggio wore 7). If you google "Albert Belle podcast," what's the first result? That's right, we did a deep dive on Belle in episode 85. Back to the list. Was Belle the best player to ever wear an 80?
|88||Albert Belle||39.94||Was a crazy human|
|84||Prince Fielder||23.75||Started using 84 when he was traded to the Rangers. Year of birth.|
|83||Justin Turner||14.93||Wore 83 as rookie w/ BAL, now wears 10 with LAD|
|81||Eddie Guardado||13.66||Number 18 most of career except for 06-07 with Reds|
|83||Eric Gagne||11.92||Chose 83 w/ BOS in 2006 because Curt Schilling had 38|
|84||J.T. Snow||11.05||Dad wore 84 as NFL receiver. J.T. chose to wear it w/ BOS in 2006 after his passing|
|88||Billy Koch||5.63||Wore 44 for most of his career|
|88||Kyle Blanks||3.96||10 of 33 career HR came in rookie year with Padres|
|85||Lastings Milledge||0.45||Switched to 85 when Adam Dunn took his 44 w/ WAS|
|87||Jose De Leon||-0.6||Traded for Logan Forsythe before 2017, #38 BP Prospect|
According to Baseball-Reference's full list, no player has ever worn 80, 86, or 89. Hey minor leaguers, this is the easiest way to get your name in the record books. 29 players have worn a jersey in the 90s; 17 picked 99. That includes three active players: Hyun-Jin Ryu (Dodgers), Taijuan Walker (Diamondbacks), and Aaron Judge (Yankees).