Welcome to Game of Numbers, the segment where we analyze the best players to have worn a number for every number, 1 through 99. Today, we take a look at at the players who have had the most success wearing the numbers 35 through 39.
#39 Roy Campanella — number retired by DodgersHonorable Mentions: Dave Parker, Joe Nuxhall
Teams Played For: Brooklyn Dodgers (1948-1957)
Career Statistics: 10 seasons, all with Brooklyn, following 9 in the Negro National League, most spent with the Baltimore Elite Giants. Career triple-slash of .276/.360/.500; one of only two catchers in MLB history (Mike Piazza) with a .500 career slugging percentage or better. .860 career OPS is 5th best among all catchers, .224 career isolated slugging is 2nd. Hit 242 career home runs, including 30 in four seasons, one of only three catchers to do so. In 1953, became the first player to hit 40 home runs in a season as a catcher, a feat that still only been equaled by three players. 8-time all-star, 3-time (1951, 1953, 1955) NL MVP Award winner, 1955 World Series Champion. Elected to Hall of Fame in 1969 (fifth ballot).
Also Wore: #33 when initially called up to the Dodgers in 1948, but switched to #39 later that same season
Video Highlight: Campanella hits a go-ahead home run in Game 3 of the 1953 World Series (no sound)
#38 Curt SchillingHonorable Mentions: Carlos Zambrano, Rick Aguilera
Teams Played For: Baltimore Orioles (1988-1990), Houston Astros (1991), Philadelphia Phillies (1992-2000), Arizona Diamondbacks (2000-2003), Boston Red Sox (2004-2007)
Career Statistics: 3261 career innings pitched, 216 wins, .597 win percentage, 1.14 WHIP (47th all-time). 3.46 career ERA, 127 career ERA+ (46th all-time). 3116 career strikeouts (15th all-time), one of only 16 pitchers in the 3000-strikeout club. Finished with 300 strikeouts in two consecutive seasons (1997 and 1998) and again in 2002 — one of only four pitchers with at least three such seasons (Randy Johnson, Nolan Ryan, Sandy Koufax). Led his league in wins in two seasons (2001 and 2004), and WHIP in 2 seasons (1992 and 2002). Led the major leagues in strikeout to walk ratio 5 of 6 years from 2001 to 2006. Finished in the top 10 in his league in WAR for pitchers 9 consecutive years (1996-2004), including second-place finishes in 2001, 2002, and 2004. 80.7 career pitching WAR, 26th all-time. In his postseason career (19 starts), finished 11-2 with a 2.23 ERA and 120 strikeouts; in World Series play, made 7 starts and went 4-1 with a 2.06 ERA. 6-time all-star, received Cy Young Votes in 4 seasons, finishing second in 2001, 2002, and 2004 (behind Randy Johnson). 3-time (2001, 2004, 2007) World Series champion.
Also Wore: #43 and #45 during his time with the Orioles, #19 with the Astros
Video Highlight: 2004 ALCS Game 6; the Bloody Sock Game
#37 Dave StiebHonorable Mentions: Kenny Rogers, Keith Hernandez
Teams Played For: Toronto Blue Jays (1979-1992, 1998), Chicago White Sox (1993)
Career Statistics: 2895.1 career innings pitched, 176 wins, 3.44 ERA. 122 career ERA+ (95th all-time). Blue Jays’ leader in innings pitched, wins, strikeouts, complete games, and shutouts. In 1282 innings pitched from 1981 to 1985, posted a 2.95 ERA, second-best in baseball in that time period (Valenzuela). Ranked first in his league in pitcher WAR every year from 1982 to 1984, with 22.6 bWAR in that period. Led his league in ERA in 1985, and finished in the top five four other years. Won 140 games in the 1980’s, second in the decade (Jack Morris). Selected to seven all-star games, and named the starting pitcher for two of them (1983 and 1984). Amassed 57.0 bWAR on the mound, 67th all-time. Threw the first no-hitter in Blue Jays’ history.
Also Wore: #10 with the White Sox in 1993
Video Highlight: Stieb’s no-hitter, the first in Blue Jays’ history; September 2, 1990 against Cleveland
#36 Gaylord Perry — number retired by GiantsHonorable Mentions: Robin Roberts, Jerry Koosman, Jim Kaat
Teams Played For: San Francisco Giants (1962-1971), Cleveland Indians (1972-1975), Texas Rangers (1975-1977, 1980), San Diego Padres (1978-1979), New York Yankees (1980), Atlanta Braves (1981), Seattle Mariners (1982-1983), Kansas City Royals (1983)
Career Statistics: In 22-year career, 5350 innings pitched (6th all-time), 314 wins (17th all-time), 3.11 ERA, 3,534 strikeouts (8th all-time). 6 seasons with more than 300 innings pitched, most by anyone in the Live Ball era (12 seasons with more than 250 innings pitched, also most by anyone in the Live Ball Era). Won 20 or more games five times in his career, and 15 or more games 13 consecutive years from 1966 to 1978. Finished in the top 10 in his league in ERA 11 times in his career, top 10 in WHIP 1o times. In 1972, posted a 1.92 ERA (168 ERA+) in 342.2 innings, compiling 11.0 bWAR, the 11th-best total of all time by a pitcher in the Live Ball era. Also led his league in pitcher WAR in 1974, and finished in the top 10 in the category 11 times. Amassed 93.7 bWAR as a pitcher, 13th all-time. 5-time all-star selection (named starting pitcher in 1974), two-time Cy Young Award winner (1972, 1978). First pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues. Elected to Hall of Fame in 1991 (third ballot).
Also Wore: #22, #38, #35 from 1962-1963 with Giants, #35 in 1972 with Indians (switched to #36 later that year), #46 with Braves in 1981 (switched to #36 later that year)
Video Highlight: Perry wins 300th game in complete game effort, May 6th, 1982 against the Yankees (full game; skip to 2:02:32 for the ninth)
#35 Phil Niekro — number retired by BravesHonorable Mentions: Mike Mussina, Frank Thomas
Teams Played For: Milwaukee/ Atlanta Braves (1964-1983, 1987), New York Yankees (1984-1985), Cleveland Indians (1986-1987), Toronto Blue Jays (1987)
Career Statistics: 24-year career ended at the age of 48. 5404 innings pitched (4th all-time), 716 games started (5th all-time) 318 wins (16th all-time), 3.35 ERA, 3,342 strikeouts (11th all-time). From 1968 to 1980, threw more than 200 innings every year; threw the most innings in his league four times (1974, 1977-1979). Won at least 20 games three times, and won at least 10 games in 19 seasons, tied for fourth all-time. Won 121 games after turning 40, most all-time. Led his league in strikeouts in 1977 (with 262), and finished in the top 10 in the category six other times. Led the National League in both ERA (1.87) and ERA+ (179) in 1967. 45 career shutouts, 29th all-time. 226 career wild pitches, 7th all-time. Led his league in pitcher WAR in consecutive years (1978 and 1979), and finished in the top 10 in the category 12 times. Amassed 97.4 bWAR as a pitcher, 10th all-time. 5-time all-star selection, 5-time Gold Glove Award winner, received votes for Cy Young Award in 5 seasons (including second-place finish in 1969). Elected to Hall of Fame in 1997 (fifth ballot).
Also Wore: N/A
Video Highlight: Niekro’s start in Game 2 of the 1982 NLCS (one of only two postseason starts in his career; he gave up 2 runs in 6 innings, earning a no-decision in a Braves’ loss)