April 18, 2014

Cleveland Sports: By The Numbers – #42

What is the greatest uniform number in Cleveland sports history? A number significant to more than just one of the three pro franchises? Today the second part of the week long series…

I appreciate the comments from yesterday’s selection. In case you missed it, I awarded 5th place on the list to the number 21, and gave away some honorable mentions. Before we get to today’s number I want to address a couple things. First, being a former football player I completely agree that at least half the numbers used have no shot of making the list. Not many baseball/basketball players reach past 50 for their jersey choice. Also, being a lineman I think it stinks that the glory position players get recognized again. What can you do? Also, I was surprised to see the number of people clamoring for #25 to be included in the top 5. While several thought #25 should be included, nobody said it should be ahead of #21. Makes me feel better about the selections. The toughest omission in my book was #14. Moving on to today’s number- #42.

warfieldbigJust like yesterday, our list starts with a Hall of Fame player. This time, the HOF player is from the Browns. #42 Paul Warfield. Here’s a synopsis of Warfield from the Browns official site- “Warfield was fast and super-smooth and was known as a precise pattern runner. He also had exceptional hands and was an excellent blocker. In his career, Warfield caught 427 passes for 8,565 yards, including 85 touchdowns. He had a sensational 20.1-yard per catch average. Warfield was named All-NFL five times and was named to eight Pro Bowls.” My dad often called this former Buckeye the best downfield blocker he ever saw. He contributed to the Dolphins perfect season of 1972 after being traded away from Cleveland.

One of the few numbers retired by the Cleveland Cavaliers is that of Nate Thurmond. LeBron may be the King of Akron basketball now, but Thurmond was the original rubber city hoops hero. Nate came to the Cavs at the end of his career. He was part of the “Miracle at Richfield” team that brought down the Washington Bullets. Thurmond is a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

For the Indians I offer two selections. The first is relief pitcher Mike Jackson. Before you call me crazy, realize that in his 3 seasons with the Tribe Jackson saved 94 games with an era under 3.00. That’s good enough for 4th all time on the Indians career save list. Jackson did his job in the ’97 World Series. He held the Marlins scoreless in his inning of game seven.

sabathia42The second Indian is a bit of a reach, but stay with me. Major League Baseball decided to retire Jackie Robinson’s #42, and the Indians followed suite. On the anniversary of his breaking the color barrier, several players have opted to wear the number in tribute. One player that used that took advantage of that opportunity every time he could was former pitcher CC Sabathia. Sabathia had this to say about wearing #42- “It meant a lot [to wear the number], I’m just excited I got a chance to pitch. To be able to pitch and play on this day was huge.” It may be a bit of a stretch, but I’m including Sabathia to push #42 over the top. Warfield, Thurmond and Sabathia/Jackson make the list.


  • JD

    Hmmm…I think #25 would have been a better choice here.

  • Painesville

    Warfield = quality…

    With that said, it wouldn’t have made my top 5. Should have been:

    4 – #21
    5 – #25

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Scott

    I think #25 would resonate more with my generation, but you can’t go wrong with a number that is retired by the Cavs, reps a Hall of Famer for the Browns and can only be worn once per year by the Indians.

  • Sean

    hmm That C.C. “42″ is not working for me, but I agree I always thought Mike Jackson was solid.

  • AMC

    Yeah, this should have been an honorable mention – stretching to get CC in under 42 isn’t working for me either and as good as Warfield was, and as solid as Jackson was, #21 should have been #4 with #25 as #5.

  • AMC

    Sorry, I omitted Nate Thurmond, but I still think this should have been an honorable mention.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com TD

    Latin Berry…how could you forget him Rick!

  • MrCleaveland

    This is a great feature.

    Just for fun, a couple of other 42s who aren’t list-worthy are Tim Manoa and Sonny Siebert.

  • mgbode

    would 42 be 2x better than 21? i’m here all week folks.

  • SoCal Buckeye

    Have to respect the Mike Jackson selection. The C.C. pick is way too far out on a limb for me, and I have to agree with AMC.

  • http://serandez.blogspot.com Ezzie

    Yeah – gotta go with 25 over 42 here.

  • The Other Tim

    Nate Thurmond signed my cover of Hoop Magazine. Unfortunately, he signed it right over the picture of JoJo White, so it’s barely legible.

  • Josh

    long live Price and Thome…

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/ Rick

    i forget you guys are all 20…

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    I’m 25.

  • Oppie

    Kinda sound like a broken record, but I agree with a bunch of the other people. #25 should be in the Top 5, probably at 4 and #21 still at 5.

    I think the addition of Coye Francies with jersey #25 along with the solid contributions and police record of former Brown, Kenny Wright should bolt #25 into the Top 5. In all serious though, Mark Price and Jim Thome are 2 of the most polarizing figures in Cleveland sports in the past 2-3 decades.

    Not taking anything away from Thurmond’s stint in Cleveland, but the accolades he received that made him the Hall of Famer and NBA Top 50 player were achieved in Golden State and Chicago.

  • Painesville

    Y’all are giving MJ too much credit and CC not enough. The kid won over a 100 games for us while MJ did most of his damage post ’97.

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/ Rick

    Well technically Sabathia pitched one game in #42…

  • Barberton Jim

    Paul Warfield in my opinion is THE greatest wide out ever.The guy played behind 3 hall of fame runners in his career Jim Brown,Leroy Kelly,Larry Csonka.The teams he played on were run first then pass,yet he gets in the HOF the first year he was eligible.I know people will say I’m crazy but I remember watching him play.Paul was so fluid in his pass routes.I never saw him ever drop a pass and he would soar over Db’s with his God giver jumping ability to snag a ball one handed and behind him.I am a lifelong Browns fan and about cried in 7th grade Ohio Government class when I heard he was traded to Miami.We ended up getting Mike Phipps out of the deal.He had all the tools to be a great QB but ended up a flop.Art Modell could sure mess a great thing up