New York athletes by the numbers

Over the years, New York athletes have worn some of the most famous numbers in all of sports. Icons like Babe Ruth (#3), Lou Gehrig (#4) and Joe DiMaggio (#5) sit atop a long and storied list of Yankees, who will have retired all single digit numbers as soon as they get around to Derek Jeter (#2). Brooklyn Dodger Jackie Robinson wore #42, which has now been retired by major league baseball. Willie Mays wore #24 when he roamed center field for the New York Giants.

And there are so many more. Legends such as Lawrence Taylor (#56) with the New York Football Giants, Joe Namath (#12) with the Jets, Walt Frazier (#10) with the Knicks and Wayne Gretzky (#99) with the Rangers, just to name a few.

As you might expect, since there are more players per team and higher numbers in football, the Giants top our list of top New York athletes by number with 36. Every team is represented, even the Giants and Dodgers, who left New York for California in 1958. There are 21 Yankees, 16 Jets, 7 Mets, 6 Knicks, 5 Rangers, 3 Dodgers and Nets, 2 Devils and an Islander and baseball Giant on the list. If you’re counting with me that adds up to 101, with Casey Stengel (#37) getting the nod as both Yankee and Met manager.

Here are the top New York players by number from 0-99, with other candidates also listed. Competition was tough in some spots, most notably #10, where Walt Frazier edged out Pele, Eli Manning, Phil Rizzuto and Fran Tarkenton, and #42, where Mariano Rivera and Charlie Conerly failed to make the cut.

The New York numbers list:

0 – Orlando Woolridge (Nets)

Shane Larkin

1 – Pee Wee Reese (Dodgers)

Eddie Giacomin, Billy Martin, Earle Combs

2 – Derek Jeter (Yankees)

Brian Leetch

3 – Babe Ruth (Yankees)

Bill Terry, Harry Howell, Ken Daneyko

4 – Lou Gehrig (Yankees)

Mel Ott, Duke Snider, Tuffy Leemans, Scott Stevens

5 – Joe DiMaggio (Yankees)

Denis Potvin, David Wright

6 – Joe Torre (Yankees)

Tony Lazzeri, Carl Furillo

7 – Mickey Mantle (Yankees)

Mel Hein, Rod Gilbert, Ken O’Brien, Carmelo Anthony

8 – Yogi Berra (Yankees)

Bill Dickey, Walt Bellamy, Gary Carter

9 – Richie Guerin (Knicks)

Roger Maris, Graig Nettles, Andy Bathgate, Adam Graves, Clark Gillies, Hank Bauer, Charlie Keller

10 – Walt Frazier (Knicks)

Pele, Eli Manning, Phil Rizzuto, Fran Tarkenton, Brad van Pelt

11 – Mark Messier (Rangers)

Carl Hubbell, Lefty Gomez, Phil Simms

12 – Joe Namath (Jets)

Dick Barnett

13 – Don Maynard (Jets)

Alex Rodriguez, Mark Jackson, Odell Beckham, Dave Jennings

14 – Gil Hodges (Dodgers)

YA Tittle, Bill Skowron

15 – Thurman Munson (Yankees)

Red Ruffing, Earl Monroe, Dick Mcguire, Jeff Hostetler, John McLean

16 – Frank Gifford (Giants)

Whitey Ford, Dwight Gooden

17 – Keith Hernandez (Mets)

Vic Raschi

18 – Darryl Strawberry (Mets)

Don Larsen, Phil Jackson

19 – Willis Reed (Knicks)

Bryan Trottier, Dave Righetti, Jean Ratelle

20 –Allan Houston (Knicks)

Jorge Posada, Monte Irvin, Jimmy Patton, Joe Morris

21 – Paul O’Neill (Yankees)

Tiki Barber

22 – Mike Bossy (Islanders)

Dave DeBusschere, Allie Reynolds, Dick Lynch

23 – Don Mattingly (Yankees)

Bobby Nystrom

24 – Willie Mays (Giants)

Bill Bradley, Derrell Revis, Robinson Cano, Ottis Anderson

25 – Bill Mclchionni (Nets)

Dick Nolan, Jason Giambi, Joe Pepitone, Bill Cartwright, Mark Collins

26 – Patrik Elias (Devils)

Wade Boggs, Orlando Hernandez

27 – Rodney Hampton (Giants)

Scott Niedermayer, Alexi Kovalev

28 – Curtis Martin (Jets)

Al Leiter

29 – Catfish Hunter (Yankees)

Alex Webser

30 – Martin Brodeur (Devils)

Bernard King, Henrik Lundqvist, Dave Meggett, Eddie Lopat, John Davidson

31 – Dave Winfield (Yankees)

John Franco, Mike Piazza, Billy Smith

32 – Julius Erving (Nets)

Elston Howard, Sandy Koufax, Al Blozis

33 – Patrick Ewing (Knicks)

David Wells

34 – Charles Oakley (Knicks)

John Vanbiesbrouck, Don Chandler

35—Mike Richter (Rangers)

Mike Mussina

36 – David Cone (Yankees)

Jerry Koosman

37 – Casey Stengel (Yankees/Mets)

38 – Bob Tucker (Giants)

Johnny Blanchard

39 – Roy Campanella (Dodgers)

40 – Joe Morrison

Lindy McDaniel, Mark Pavelich

41 – Tom Seaver (Mets)

Matt Snell

42 –Jackie Robinson (Dodgers)

Mariano Rivera, Charlie Conerly

43 – Spider Lockhart (Giants)

Jeff Nelson

44 – Reggie Jackson (Yankees)

John Riggins, Ahmad Bradshaw

45 – Emlen Tunnell (Giants)

Tug McGraw, John Franco

46 – Andy Pettitte (Yankees)

Bill Baird

47 – Luis Arroyo (Yankees)

48 – Jacob deGrom (Mets)

Andy Pafko, Kenny Hill, Bobby Humphrey

49 – Ron Guidry (Yankees)

Erich Barnes

50 – Ken Strong (Giants)

51 – Bernie Williams (Yankees)

52– Buck Williams (Nets)

Jon Schmitt, CC Sabathia

53 – Harry Carson (Giants)

Don Drysdale

54 – Goose Gossage (Yankees)

55—Hideki Matsui (Yankees)

Ray Wietecha

56 –Lawrence Taylor (Giants)

57 – Johan Santana (Mets)

John Wetteland, Mo Lewis

58 – Carl Banks (Giants)

59 – Kyle Clifton (Giants)

Michael Boley

60 – Larry Grantham (Jets)

D’Brickeshaw Ferguson, Brad Benson

61 – Rick Nash (Rangers)

62 – Al Atkinson (Jets)

Joba Chamberlain, Carl Hagelin

63 – Karl Nelson (Giants)

64 – Jim Burt (Giants)

65 – Joe Fields (Jets)

Bart Oates

66 – Jack Stroud (Giants)

David Diehl, Randy Rasmussen

67 – Dave Herman (Jets)

Bill Ard, Kareem McKenzie

68 – Kevin Mawae (Jets)

Jaromir Jagr,Dellin Betances

69 – Rich Seubert (Giants)

70 – Sam Huff (Giants)

Leonard Marshall

71 – Dave Tollefson (Giants)

72 – Ose Umenyiora (Giants)

73 – Joe Klecko (Jets)

74 – Nick Mangold (Jets)

75 – George Martin (Giants)

Jim Katcavage, Winston Hill

76 – Rosey Grier (Giants)

Jumbo Elliott, Chris Snee

77 – Phil Esposito (Rangers)

Dick Modzelewski

78 – Jerome Salley (Giants)

Marvin Powell

79 – Roosevelt Brown (Giants)

80 – Victor Cruz (Giants)

John Elliott, Wayne Chrebet, Jeremy Shockey

81 – Andy Robustelli (Giants)

Amani Toomer, Gerry Philbin

82 – Mario Manningham (Giants)

Mark Ingram

83 – George Sauer (Jets)

84 – Harland Svare (Giants)

Zeke Mowatt

85 – Del Shofner (Giants)

Wesley Walker

86 – Verlon Bigggs (Jets)

Lionel Manuel

87 – Howard Cross (Giants)

Pete Lammons, Domenik Hixon

88 – Al Toon (Jets)

Pat Summerall, Eric Lindros

89 – Mark Bavaro (Giants)

90 – Jason Pierre-Paul (Giants)

Dennis Byrd

91 – Justin Tuck (Giants)

John Tavares

92 – Michael Strahan (Giants)

93 – Marty Lyons (Jets)

94 – John Abraham (Jets)

95 – Frank Ferrera (Giants)

96 – Barry Cofield (Giants)

97 – Mathias Kiwanuka (Giants)

98 – Jesse Armstead (Giants)

Fred Robbins

99 – Wayne Gretzky (Rangers)

Mark Gastineau, Steve DeOssie

Off the pitch, USA waffles the Belgians

Manneken-PisIf size matters, the USA will waffle the Belgians in their World Cup knockout round match. Here’s how we stack up against Belgium.



USA — 318M

Belgium – 11M, roughly akin to Ohio




USA — 3.79M square miles, world’s third largest country

Belgium – 11.8K square miles, roughly the size of Maryland, our 42nd largest state




USA – George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Thomas Edison

Belgium – Adolpe Sax (inventor of the saxophone), Peter Paul Reubens (baroque painter), Leorge Lemaitre (astronomer who invented the Big Bang theory)

ADVANTAGE — USA (although sax and Big Bang are big deals)



USA – BBQ pork and beef, crab cakes, potato chips, chocolate chip cookies.

BELGIUM — Belgian waffles, Brussels sprouts




USA – Federal republic

Belgium – Federal monarchy

ADVANTAGE —  Belgium, a king tops a president, King Philippe gets the nod


GDP (gross domestic product)

USA – $16.799 trillion

Belgium – $434.503 billion




USA – “In God we trust”

Belgium – “Strength through unity”




USA – Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali, Joe Montana, Michael Jordan

Belgium – Eddy Merckx (five times winner of the Tour de France), Justine Hennin and Kim Clijsters (women’s tennis)

ADVANTAGE – Seriously



USA – Marilyn Monroe, Meryl Streep, Katherine Hepburn, Lauren Bacall

Belgium – Audrey Hepburn




USA – Marlon Brando, Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood, Tom Hanks

Belgium – Jean-Claude Van Damme




USA – Statue of Liberty, Washington Monument, Mount Rushmore

Belgium – Manneken Pis




USA – English, Spanish

Belgium – Flemish, French




USA – Land of the Free

BELGIUM – Low Countries (with the Netherlands and Luxembourg)


World Cup: A tie is a loss, a loss is a win

Strange when a tie feels like a loss…..and a loss feels like a win. But those are the emotions Team USA fans are feeling after the Red, White and Blue advanced out of the “Group of Death” – despite a 1-0 loss to Germany.

Sure, Americans were down after Portugal scored in the waning seconds of extra time to forge a 2-2 draw with the US on Sunday. And for awhile there today it appeared as though Ghana, and not the USA, might advance along with Germany in Group G.

Imagine the uproar if that had happened. The US beat Ghana 2-1 in an earlier match, and yet Ghana could have moved ahead on goal differential. What kind of tiebreaker system is FIFA using when head-to-head is not the first criteria,

Some other random thoughts about soccer and the World Cup.

The clock – It’s nice to see games start on time and end in less than two hours. But timekeeping is so imprecise that with extra time you’re never quite sure when the final whistle will blow. And how about a little more clarity on goals then, rather than just saying the score was in the 54th minute…or whatever.

Fakers – It seems as though an awful lot of players take dives and embellish injuries every time they go down – or is that just me?

There’s no biting in soccer – Well actually there is. Uruguay’s star striker Luis Suarez (Chewy Luis), taking a page out of Mike Tyson’s book, bite out of the shoulder of Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini. The result – a four-month suspension and a fine of $100,000 Swiss francs. That oughta teach him.

Vests — Why do subs wear those ridiculous vestments?

Like ice hockey – Soccer and hockey are cousins. With very few goals being scored in either sport, the thrill is in watching the scoring chance. If you’re waiting for home runs, touchdowns or three-pointers, you’re in the wrong sport.

Home pitch advantage – Uruguay (1930), Italy (1934), England (1966), West Germany (1974), Argentina (1978) and France (2006) have all won the World Cup as host team.

Five-time champs  – Brazil has won the most World Cup – five – but none at home.

If it’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium – Team USA will face Belgium next Tuesday in the knock-out round. Heck, the Americans win on GNP alone. Suzanne Pleshette will pick the winner.

Soccer Roadmap: Fort Lauderdale to Jersey


Saw my first professional soccer game in three decades or so the other night — New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution at the new Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ, outside of Newark.

The Red Bulls won soccer’s version of the New York-Boston rivalry, 2-1, on a goal by Thierry Henry. An offside call nullified a New England goal in the waning moments of the match.

That was the MLS — Major League Soccer. Before that, my last pro soccer match was in the early 80s — the Fort Lauderdale Strikers vs. the Tampa Bay Rowdies in a NASL (North American Soccer League) match at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale.

In those days of the Reagan regime, the Strikers were the only pro show in South Florida outside of the Miami Dolphins. No Marlins, No Panthers, No Heat.

The Strikers played in NASL back then. And they still play in the NASL today.

But it’s a different NASL, no longer the premier soccer league in America. NASL was big time in 1980, when the Strikers advanced all the way to the finals before losing to the great Pele and his New York Cosmos.

Between 1977 and 1983, before moving to Minnesota, the Strikers had some world-class players. The legendary party boy Georgie Best played for those Strikers. So did midfielder Ray Hudson, Peruvian legend Teofilo Cubillas, and German center Gerd Muller, also known for his tennis exploits in Plantation.

The goalkeepers included Gordon Banks, the top keeper in the league his first year despite being blind in one eye, and the poetically named Jan van Beveren, the Van Lingle Mungo of soccer.

Three other versions of Strikers have called Fort Lauderdale home — representing the ASL, USISL and currently the NASL again.

World Cup Runneth Over for Spain

Well, Spain lived up to the favorite’s role and won its first World Cup, beating The Netherlands 1-0 in extra time.

The Spanish had reached five Cup quarterfinals — in 1934, 50, 86, 94 and 2002 — but never advanced beyond that….until this year.

Meanwhile, The Netherlands are now the Brooklyn Dodgers of World Cup soccer. The Dutch made the finals for the third time, but came up empty once again. Previous losses were to West Germany in 1974 and Argentina in 1978.

Three random thoughts on the World Cup:

No Shootout

1. Thankfully somebody scored in the extra time, thus avoiding a penalty kick shootout for the championship. the way Brazil beat Italy in 1994 and Italy defeated France for the 2006 Cup..

IMHO, elimination games — and especially championship matches — should be not be decided by artificial shootouts. Go to sudden death overtime.

And if there’s a concern that the games might last too long, play the OT with less players and open up the field.

Yes Replay

2. Go to the replay to confirm questionable goals. Hey, I’m not an instant replay freak — it’s overdone in the NFL, for instance. But it’s foolish not to use the technology that’s available today to ensure the right call is made.

Not advocating replay for offsides calls, penalties, etc. Just goals.

Vuvezela Music

3. At first, we wondered what was that sound. The vuvuzalas sounded like a swarm of bees, and they were obnoxious in the beginning. But as the World Cup rolled on, they became the defining sound of the 2010 World Cup.

When in South Africa, do as the South Africans do.

World Cup Report: No .300 Shooters in Soccer

American fans had plenty to cheer about at the World Cup, but at the end the US came up long on heroics but short on glory — and the quarterfinals.

They always say the hardest thing to do in sports is to hit a baseball. Watching the World Cup, however, it’s plainly apparent the hardest thing to do in sports is to score a goal in soccer. There are plenty of .300 hitters in baseball, but no .300 shooters in soccer, at least none in the World Cup.

Although the United States had a valiant Cup showing with some memorable rallies to make the round of 16, their inability to avoid the early deficit doomed them in the end. Playing from behind all the time wears on a team, and it seemed like the US was always playing catch-up, even in group play where they beat Algeria 1-0 in overtime on a goal by Landon Donovan, below right, in extra time to avoid elimination.

The US team played 390 minutes of soccer in South Africa — and led for just three of them.

The US had a chance to advance and perhaps gain some world recognition, but once more failed to take that next step. The 2-1 overtime loss to Ghana was disappointing, especially when one considers the USA has nearly 15X the population of that tiny African country.  The same Black Stars that knocked out the US in 2006 — and by the same score.

With so many other team sports in America, it’s no surprise that soccer has never really caught on in this country. Oversaturation will do that, and there are just so many sports Americans can absorb.

At the end of the day, the US team still has work to do in order to reach world class status. The last (and only) time the United States even made it as far as the semifinals was in the first World Cup in 1930. They were beaten 6-1 by eventual champion Argentina and finished third that year, and they haven’t been that close in 80 years.

As the New York Daily News said: “Going, Going, Ghana.”

Play in the World Cup is certainly dramatic, but FIFA must get with the real world and use available technology — at least for goal-scoring plays. Not a big advocate of instant replay for offsides and penalties.

But the whole world saw England score a second goal against Germany — everyone but the officials on the field. At the very least, position a goal judge directly behind the net to make goal calls and avoid controversy.

The Germans would argue the call makes up for 1966, when England’s Geoff Hurst (Sir Geoffrey Charles Hurst) scored a controversial goal in overtime against West Germany at Wembley Stadium to spearhead a 4-2 triumph and Britian’s only World Cup. Hurst remains the only player to score a hat trick in a World Cup final.

Heck they even had video replay 44 years ago, as this You Tube link attests. You make the call.