August 7, 2022

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By the point Derek Jeter retired after the 2014 season, he was in every single...

By the point Derek Jeter retired after the 2014 season, he was in every single place. The traditional, white, pinstriped No. 2 Yankees jersey he made well-known was the best-selling jersey in all of MLB.

One distinguished baseball merchandiser informed ESPN that Jeter’s shirt was the truth is the best-selling MLB jersey of all time. The love of Jeter did not finish when he stopped taking part in, both, as he remained atop most lists of baseball’s most recognizable stars for years after he retired.

All of that hardly scratches the floor in relation to placing the affect of No. 2 into context. Over the course of his unparalleled 20-year profession with the Yankees, Jeter accrued 3,465 hits, 14 All-Star appearances, 5 World Collection titles and legions of followers of all ages. A few of these Captain followers at the moment are excellent MLB gamers themselves.

Utilizing knowledge gathered from baseball-reference.com and MLB.com, ESPN evaluated the WAR (wins above substitute) of each MLB participant from 2005 (midway via Jeter’s profession) to 2021 to find out which jersey numbers have been best.

Under ESPN tells the tales of these No. 2s and of the gamers who presently put on the one different 4 numbers to rank within the prime 10 of common and complete WAR and be worn by no less than 100 gamers from 2005 to 2021.

The Captain

Watch on ESPN and ESPN+: “THE CAPTAIN,” EPISODE 1: Monday, July 18, 10 p.m. ET. Watch the trailer

After just a few flirtations with uniform numbers, the observe of placing them on participant jerseys started in earnest with the 1929 Yankees, and so they have been part of baseball ever since. At first, gamers wore numbers that corresponded with their place within the batting order, which is why Babe Ruth wore No. Three and Lou Gehrig No. 4. The primary No. 2 was additionally a Yankees shortstop — Mark Koenig, a member of the franchise’s famed 1927 membership.

Koenig had nothing to do with Jeter ending up as a No. 2-wearing Yankees’ shortstop seven a long time later, however Jeter has quite a bit to do with the proliferation of high-level No. 2s within the sport since his arrival. Plenty of the sport’s prime infielders have cited Jeter as an affect and a cause why they put on the quantity they put on. There’s even a shortstop who debuted for Boston this season whose mother and father honored Jeter in a extra profound approach. That rookie’s identify is Jeter Downs, and, sure, he’s named after the Captain.

543.4

complete struggle
(rank: 1)

3.67

struggle/participant
(rank: 1)

Xander Bogaerts

Purple Sox shortstop

As a rookie in 2014, Bogaerts, who calls Jeter his “function mannequin,” inherited No. 2 from Jacoby Ellsbury. In 2015, Boston signed Bogaerts’ different boyhood hero, Hanley Ramirez, who had worn No. 2 with the Marlins to honor Jeter, his idol. With No. 2 bogarted, Ramirez cursed his luck and settled for No. 13.

Alex Bregman

Astros third baseman

When the Yankees retired Jeter’s quantity in 2017 between video games of a doubleheader with Houston, his greatest fan sporting Astros orange was Bregman … Jackie Bregman. Alex‘s grand slam minutes later along with his mother within the stands felt dictated by destiny, or as Alex stated: “Guess it was the No. 2 magic tonight.”

Jazz Chisholm Jr.

Marlins second baseman

Chisholm first met Jeter in 2019 throughout BP at Double-A Jacksonville and requested the then-CEO of the Marlins: “What do I’ve to do to be a Corridor of Famer?” As a rookie in 2021, he selected the boss’ No. 2, which additionally occurred to be the variety of his favourite NBA participant, Charlotte Hornets level guard LaMelo Ball.

Marcus Semien

Rangers second baseman

Debuting with the White Sox at Yankee Stadium in 2013, Semien wore No. 5 and made two assists in a 6-5 loss, each on grounders by Jeter, his baseball function mannequin. Final season, after donning No. 10 for seven years, Semien lastly made a play for No. 2, which was additionally his dad’s soccer jersey at Cal.

Jean Segura

Phillies second baseman

Segura has worn No. 2 since his fourth season, with Arizona, in 2016. 4 years earlier, as a rookie shortstop with the Angels, Segura did not join with Jeter by his quantity (20), however by his method. Former Yankees scout Dick Groch, who signed Jeter in 1992, stated Segura’s fast bat and fixed hustle reminded him of his biggest discover.

Nico Hoerner

Cubs shortstop

Hoerner‘s capability to discipline deep within the gap, elevate, pivot and rifle throughout his physique descends instantly from the “Jeter Bounce” throw. However even along with his “Hoerner Hop” and a 162-game common WAR (4.5) practically equivalent to Jeter’s (4.2), calling the gifted Hoerner the second coming of No. 2 remains to be fairly a leap.

Since Jeter broke into the majors in 1995, gamers sporting No. 2 have collected extra hits than another uniform quantity, adopted by No. 7. Jeter leads the way in which, after all — he’s sixth on the profession hit record, in spite of everything — however 10 different gamers have no less than 1,000 hits sporting No. 2 since Jeter’s call-up. Following Jeter on that record are Randy Winn, Denard Span, Aaron Hill, Troy Tulowitzki and Bogaerts.

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The factor is, Jeter did not even need No. 2 at first. His desire was No. 13, the quantity his father, Charles, wore in faculty. The quantity was on the time occupied by Jim Leyritz, so Jeter was assigned No. 2. It was surprisingly accessible on condition that many of the single-digit numbers had been retired for the likes of Ruth, Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio and Mickey Mantle. In keeping with Ian O’Connor, creator of “The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter,” it was then-Yankees supervisor Buck Showalter’s concept to offer Jeter No. 2. The subsequent spring, after Showalter had been fired, New York’s tools supervisor tried to offer Jeter No. 17. Jeter wasn’t having it.

The remainder, as they are saying, is historical past.

Baseball gamers are infamously superstitious, however given Jeter’s authentic desire for sporting his father’s No. 13, he seems to be unconcerned about supernatural interference. Loads of others have tempted destiny with No. 13 and achieved simply fantastic, particularly within the greenback column. Jeter’s most notable No. 13-wearing teammate in New York was Alex Rodriguez, who made a lot cash on and off the sphere that he is now a co-owner of the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves. Manny Machado, an early front-runner on this season’s NL MVP race, is one other well-compensated No. 13 blazing a path to Cooperstown-worthy statistics regardless of carrying the unluckiest of numbers on his again.

452.1

complete struggle
(rank: 3)

3.16

struggle/participant
(rank: 2)

Manny Machado

Padres third baseman

Machado‘s favourite jersey, the No. 3 he wore in highschool, wasn’t accessible when Baltimore known as him up in August 2012. Thanks, Ryan Flaherty. What about his childhood hero Chipper Jones’ No. 10? Taken by All-Star Adam Jones. So, the O’s new addition used easy addition, and added 3+10 to the roster.

Ronald Acuna Jr.

Braves outfielder

When Acuna first joined the Braves in late April 2018, the quantity he wore within the minors, 24, belonged to catcher Kurt Suzuki. The subsequent season, Suzuki departed to Washington, however Acuna, the 2018 NL Rookie of the 12 months, determined to go away his outdated 24 on the farm and check out his luck with 13.

Max Muncy

Dodgers infielder

Muncy, who has performed no less than three positions in every of his six seasons, has stayed put with No. 13 since 2018. When Machado arrived in L.A. for the second half of 2019, Dodgers nearer Kenley Jansen supplied Muncy a “good tip” to offer Machado the quantity. Good is relative; Muncy declined.

Joey Gallo

Yankees outfielder

After Gallo was traded from Texas to New York final July, he did not count on to maintain No. 13 (unused within the Bronx since Alex Rodriguez’s 2016 retirement). However A-Rod had been very essential of a possible Gallo deal whereas working as an ESPN analyst. And when Gallo arrived, that dormant quantity was already in his locker.

Ke’Bryan Hayes

Pirates third baseman

Baseball gives few positive issues, even once you’re the Pirates’ 2015 first-round choose, their No. 2 prospect and a legacy main leaguer. However Hayes had one lock as a rookie in 2020: He’d put on 13, his solely quantity within the minors and the one his dad, Charlie, wore most throughout his 14-year main league profession.

Salvador Perez

Royals catcher

Perez superstitiously wears girls’s fragrance throughout video games but is cool with 13. Actually, his efficiency on Friday the 13th and Tuesday the 13th (historically unfortunate in his native Venezuela) exceeds his leads to all different video games. Over 11 profession “unfortunate” dates he’s batting .365 with a .908 OPS, however .265/.759 on all different dates. Spooky.

Uniform No. 13 remains to be not precisely the variety of selection amongst massive leaguers, nevertheless it’s turn out to be step by step extra acceptable over the a long time. In the course of the 1930s, when the sporting of numbers grew to become embedded as a part of the sport’s cloth, solely 0.4% of participant seasons have been accounted for by gamers sporting No. 13.

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After a quick rise within the 1940s, the determine dropped again to 0.4% within the 1950s, maybe as a consequence of Bobby Thomson’s historic pennant-winning homer in 1951 off of No. 13-wearing Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca. However the utilization climbed after that, growing every decade to the 2010s, when 1.5% of participant seasons went to bearers of No. 13.

Shortstop seems to be the place of selection for many who wave a dismissive hand at superstition. The 4 all-time leaders in WAR amongst No. 13s all spent no less than one full season as a giant league shortstop: A-Rod, Machado, Omar Vizquel and Dave Concepcion.

Solely three gamers have posted a season of no less than Eight WAR whereas sporting No. 13. The primary was former Purple Sox shortstop John Valentin, who put up 8.Three WAR in 1995, the season of Jeter’s debut. The opposite two have been posted by A-Rod (2005, 2007), who was named AL MVP in each seasons performed subsequent to Jeter. Rodriguez had six different seasons of no less than Eight WAR earlier than he joined the Yankees, however he wore No. Three throughout these campaigns for Seattle and Texas. No. 3, after all, is the area of Ruth within the Bronx.

By way of the Fourth of July, the most well-liked uniform quantity within the main leagues this season was No. 28, with 25 gamers that includes it to date this marketing campaign. That was additionally the most well-liked quantity final season, when 32 gamers wore it, another than the 31 gamers who wore No. 48. This 12 months incorporates a equally fierce battle, with No. 50 this 12 months’s main contender to 28’s recognition crown. By way of July 4, 24 gamers had worn the quantity this season. With a few of this 12 months’s division races already turning into runaways, possibly that is the race we’ll find yourself watching over the second half of the season.

Nolan Arenado

Cardinals third baseman

Arenado stated his choice to put on No. 28 stems again to his first massive league camp with the Rockies in 2013. Most prospects should put on larger numbers in camp, however Arenado thought getting 28 meant he’d be checked out like a veteran. All he has achieved since is earn 5 Platinum Gloves and 4 Silver Slugger Awards.

Matt Olson

Braves first baseman

Olson wore No. 21 at Parkview Excessive in Lilburn, Georgia, to honor fellow alum and Gold Glover Jeff Francouer (who sported it for the Rangers and Royals). When he was known as as much as Oakland in 2017, catcher Stephen Vogt had the quantity. So Olson selected 28, which he now wears again in Atlanta — with Francouer broadcasting from the TV sales space.

Corey Kluber

Rays pitcher

Win or lose, two-time Cy Younger winner Kluber is thought for his stoicism on the mound. Rising via the ranks, he approached his quantity with comparable detachment: 44 in faculty, 32 and 34 in Excessive-A, 18 and 33 in Double-A, Four and 44 in Triple-A, 34 as a rookie. However he has caught with 28 since incomes his first main league win in 2012. Go determine.

Javier Baez

Tigers shortstop

Baez is a brand-new 28. The 2-time All-Star started his massive league profession sporting No. 9, nodding to the Cubs selecting him ninth total in 2011. He wore 23 with the Mets final 12 months, as his quantity was owned by Brandon Nimmo, one other 2011 first-rounder. This season, Baez signed with the Tigers however Willi Castro saved No. 9.

J.D. Martinez

Purple Sox designated hitter

Houston gave Martinez No. 14 however launched him in 2014 after three seasons. He switched to No. 28 in Detroit and went on to make 4 All-Star Video games and win a World Collection title. Did Houston notice its error? 4 months after releasing Martinez, the Astros went out and drafted one other 6-foot-Three outfielder named J.D. (Davis) — and gave him No. 28.

Josh Donaldson

Yankees third baseman

Over greater than a decade within the majors, 2015 MVP Donaldson has solely ever worn jerseys within the 20s; his favourite is clearly revealed by his Twitter deal with @BringerOfRain20. However Donaldson was compelled so as to add No. 28 when he joined the Yankees this season, as 20 was retired in 2015 in honor of Jorge Posada.

The resurgence of No. 28 wearers is a return to type for the jersey. After being essentially the most worn quantity throughout each the 1990s and 2000s (when it comes to complete participant seasons), it fell to No. 18 throughout the 2010s.

No. 28 may be in vogue now, however the mantle of “hottest quantity” is without end altering fingers. In the course of the 1930s, it was No. 24 that raced out to the lead, although it was extra a query of amount than high quality. In the course of the 1940s, No. 17 took the lead, adopted by No. 15 within the 1950s. Since then it has been No. 23 (1960s) and No. 25 (1970s and ’80s) earlier than the reign of No. 28 started.

Its adorned record incorporates a a number of Cy Younger winner (Kluber) and loads of Gold Glove and Silver Slugger winners, like Arenado, Baez, Donaldson, Martinez and Olson. Jeter did not win any Cy Youngs, although there are most likely some Yankees followers who assume he may have if given the prospect. However he did win 5 Gold Gloves and 5 Silver Sluggers.

Jeter was one member of a wave of homegrown stars who shaped the muse of the championship Yankees groups of the late 1990s and early 2000s. He was joined by Andy Pettitte, Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada, amongst others. Rivera and Jeter are two of solely 54 one-team Corridor of Famers in baseball historical past, having gone into the Corridor in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

Today, a few of the AL’s prime younger gamers are additionally homegrown abilities, starring for the workforce that developed them. An uncommon variety of these standouts occur to put on No. 11, a determine that’s seemingly going to be featured on a few of the iconic jerseys of this period.

379.7

complete struggle
(rank: 5)

2.87

struggle/participant
(rank: 3)

Jose Ramirez

Guardians third baseman

As a 10-year outdated in Bani, Dominican Republic, Ramirez watched from afar as hometown hero Miguel Tejada gained the 2012 AL MVP. 9 years later, sporting Tejada’s No. 10, Ramirez started his two-year tear via Cleveland’s farm system. When introduced as much as the bigs, he settled for the next-best jersey, No. 11. That is becoming — he’s truly on observe to one-up Tejada.

Bo Bichette

Blue Jays shortstop

When Bichette joined the Blue Jays in 2019, he may have chosen numbers beforehand worn by two veterans he extremely revered, Jose Bautista (19) and Josh Donaldson (20). As an alternative, he picked No. 11, which his father, Dante Bichette, wore for only one season — his first — with the Angels in 1988.

Rafael Devers

Purple Sox third baseman

The Dominican Republic was as soon as famend for elite shortstops, not third basemen. However with Devers, Ramirez and Machado on the very prime of the place, we may see the makings of a brand new development. And if prospects begin sporting Devers’ and Ramirez’s No. 11, we may have the makings of a brand new infographic.

Jorge Polcano

Twins second baseman

Polanco had an up-and-down begin in Minnesota. In 2014 at age 20, he was up for 5 video games, then despatched down. In 2015, he was up 4, and again down. However 69 video games in 2016 constituted his final break up schedule. Now 9 seasons in, all in No. 11, he’s the longest-tenured Twin and a locked-in starter.

Brett Gardner

free agent outfielder

The veteran outfielder has been a mainstay within the Bronx since he was 24 years outdated. He entered free company after 2021, and although different groups have reportedly supplied him contracts, Gardner has turned all of them down in hopes of ending his profession because the Yanks’ solely wire-to-wire No. 11.

There’s something to this notion of homegrown expertise, no less than when it comes to profitable on the highest degree. 9 of the previous 11 World Collection champs have featured a homegrown WAR chief. For the Yankees, it has been a digital necessity to function a homegrown participant because the cornerstone on a title workforce.

It did not begin out that approach, as the primary 4 Yankees championships featured Ruth as their WAR chief. That was the aftermath of baseball’s most well-known transaction — the one during which the Purple Sox bought Ruth to their rivals in New York. Nevertheless, the Yankees have gained 23 titles since Ruth retired. All however two of these championship golf equipment have featured a homegrown Yankee atop its WAR leaderboard.

The exceptions have been Purple Ruffing (1938 WAR chief, got here up with the Purple Sox) and Graig Nettles (1977, performed for Minnesota and Cleveland earlier than shifting to the Yankees). Every of the 21 different post-Ruth champions featured a WAR chief who made his MLB debut in a Yankees uniform. Thrice it was Jeter filling that function (1998, 1999 and 2009).

All of this bodes properly for this 12 months’s Yankees, who’re on a report tempo for wins. Their WAR chief is AL MVP candidate Aaron Choose, who was a first-round draft choose by New York in 2013.

As Jeter neared the top of his profession and in the end retired, a brand new era of stars have been making their very own methods to the highest of the MLB pecking order. Whereas it may not be a case of merely doubling up on Jeter’s No. 2, the double-deuce has risen in prominence maybe greater than another for the reason that introduction of Jeter. Whereas numbers within the single digits and youths have historically been the area of hitters, pitchers have dominated uniforms bearing numbers within the 30s and 40s. No. 22 has turn out to be more and more a mixture of each. Ten of the 13 30-homer seasons from No. 22s have come since Jeter debuted, whereas 17 of the 18 200-strikeout seasons have come throughout the Captain’s period.

446.2

complete struggle
(rank: 4)

2.49

struggle/participant
(rank: 5)

Clayton Kershaw

Dodgers pitcher

Kershaw wore No. 54 for one begin earlier than pinch-hitting specialist Mark Sweeney rose to the second and gave the 20-year-old rookie No. 22. Kershaw had worn the quantity taking part in journey ball again dwelling in Texas to honor his hero, “Rangers’ Will Clark,” he clarified for Dodgers followers. “Not Giants’ Will Clark.”

Andrew McCutchen

Brewers designated hitter

McCutchen all the time coveted Ken Griffey Jr.’s No. 24 however was given No. 22 as a rookie. After a smashing debut season during which he completed fourth in Rookie of the 12 months voting, he saved 22 for almost all of the following 14 seasons. When he landed with Milwaukee within the offseason, he lastly, at age 34, was capable of nab The Child’s 24.

Christian Yelich

Brewers outfielder

Yelich, who wore No. 21 with Miami, adopted 22 with Milwaukee and promptly grew to become the 2018 Nationwide League MVP. After Yelich broke a kneecap late in 2019, sympathetic teammate Ryan Braun wore Yelich’s 22 below his jersey and went on an MVP-like tear. Over the ultimate 13 video games Braun hit .325 with a .725 slugging proportion.

Jason Heyward

Cubs outfielder

Heyward has worn No. 22 each season to honor a highschool good friend who died of their senior 12 months. In 2015, Heyward’s one season with the Cardinals, supervisor Mike Matheny gladly surrendered No. 22 (his personal favourite) and was rewarded with Heyward batting .293 with 23 steals, each profession highs.

Sandy Alcantara

Marlins pitcher

Alcantara hasn’t simply made a reputation for himself in Miami, he has made a quantity. Within the Marlins’ 30-year historical past, 15 gamers have worn No. 22. The primary 14 mixed for a 4.9 WAR over 19 seasons; Alcantara, the present No. 22, has a 13.Three WAR with the Marlins halfway via his fifth season.

Juan Soto

Nationals outfielder

Soto has worn No. 22 for all 4 seasons within the bigs, however he’s @juansoto_25 on social media. Does he not need followers? Is he unaware of his personal jersey? Did he enroll late in spite of everything the great @juansoto22s have been taken? Seems Soto joined too early, attaching his 2015 educational league quantity to his deal with.

Whereas a few of the adorned No. 22s of latest classic have made their marks within the postseason, none of them have constructed something near the playoff resume that Jeter compiled over 16 postseasons with the Yankees. That is not an insult to them as a result of Jeter’s playoff report is without doubt one of the extra staggering parts of his Corridor of Fame profession.

Jeter performed a complete further season simply in playoff video games, showing in a report 158 postseason contests, 33 greater than another participant. He is additionally the all-time playoff chief in hits, runs, complete bases and doubles. It wasn’t simply quantity. Jeter compiled a .817 OPS throughout his regular-season profession. At playoff time, in opposition to more durable competitors and when the stakes have been at their highest, that determine was .838.

The 22s cannot match Jeter in October but. Soto has a title below his belt already after hitting three homers for Washington within the 2019 Fall Traditional. Heyward will without end be remembered for the ring he gained with the 2016 Cubs. And Kershaw? Certain, his postseason profession has been filled with ups and downs, however he is the all-time playoff chief in strikeouts.

For causes that go approach past baseball and merchandise gross sales, No. 42 is baseball’s most iconic quantity, the one retired jersey in each MLB ballpark. Jackie Robinson, the person chargeable for that, is fittingly additionally the all-time WAR chief for gamers sporting that quantity, adopted by Corridor of Famer Mariano Rivera. Now that the final of No. 42 bearers is retired, that is one leaderboard that’s by no means going to vary. That is correctly.

The heyday for No. 42 within the years after Robinson retired was the 1970s, when gamers sporting the historic quantity accounted for 166 participant seasons. As was the conference of the day, it was principally a pitcher’s quantity throughout these years, however some non-pitchers wore it, like slugger Greg Luzinski and future supervisor Tony La Russa.

There was additionally a participant who wore No. 42 in six video games for Cleveland in 1974. That participant’s identify was Johnny Jeter. Sadly, there is no such thing as a relation.

No. 24 has seen three greats pile up greater than 100 profession WAR, together with Barry Bonds, fourth all time, fifth-place Willie Mays and Rickey Henderson (19th). Nevertheless, whereas Mays spent practically his complete profession making No. 24 well-known, Bonds switched to No. 25 after he signed with the Giants, and Henderson switched numbers a number of instances throughout his unending profession.

Nonetheless, No. 24 has featured an uncommon frequency of All-Star-level seasons, with 104 seasons of no less than 5 WAR being posted by gamers whereas sporting that quantity. That is second amongst all numbers, surpassed solely by No. 5.

A kind of All-Stars was Ken Griffey Jr., whose No. 24 is retired in any respect ranges of the Seattle Mariners group. On the 50th anniversary of Robinson’s main league debut, April 15, 1997, and once more on the identical day in 2007, Griffey honored Robinson by switching his 24 to 42. The gesture solid the trail for each participant to put on 42 on his again each April 15.

Produced by ESPN Inventive Studio: Michelle Bashaw, Matt Becker, Dominique DeMoe, Heather Donahue, Jarret Gabel, Alecia Hamm, Sean Hintz, Luke Knox, Rylee McIver and Beth Stojkov. Written by Bradford Doolittle. Illustrations by Brandon Loving. Further visuals from AP Photographs, Getty Photographs, Imagn.