Best Players Who Wore Number 14 – MLB 2014 Primer

By Derek White

To honor the 2014 Major League Baseball season, we thought it would be fun to select the best players who wore number 14 for each major league team. To be honest, some teams have weak representation with this jersey number. For the hard decisions, here are our disclaimers.

  1. If a team has retired the number 14…that player automatically gets the title of “the best”.
  2. Some players selected are based on “popularity” rather than “productivity”. Basically, they didn’t need to have THEIR best years while they wore 14 for that team, but they were technically the “best” player to do so.
  3. Not every player deserves a blurb because there isn’t much reason to why they won…some won by default as the best players who wore number 14.

 Best Players Who Wore Number 14

American League

  • Baltimore Orioles – Lee May
  • Boston Red Sox – Jim Rice (number retired)
  • Chicago White Sox – Paul Konerko – It’s likely Konerko will have his number hanging at U.S. Cellular Field some day.
  • Cleveland Indians – Larry Doby (number retired)
  • Detroit Tigers – Jim Bunning – This was difficult, but Bunning had the best stats while wearing 14 than any other player in Tigers history.
  • Houston Astros – Derek Bell
  • Kansas City Royals – Vida Blue
  • Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – Troy Glaus – Glaus wore 14 for his first two years in the league while not putting up much for stats. He did, however, become one of the best players in franchise history. Therefore, he wins.
  • Minnesota Twins – Kent Hrbek (number retired)
  • New York Yankees –Lou Piniella – Surprisingly, not many Yankee legends wore number 14. Sweet Lou had good years in New York wearing it.
  • Oakland Athletics – Mark Ellis
  • Seattle Mariners – Tom Paciorek – Tino Martinez technically wore 14 for his first two years in Seattle, but didn’t do much stat wise. Paciorek had a goon run while wearing 14.
  • Tampa Bay Rays – David Price
  • Texas Rangers – Julio Franco – Some of Franco’s most productive years in his long career came in Texas, including three All Star appearances.
  • Toronto Blue Jays – Rickey Henderson – Interesting nugget…Rickey wore 14 for nine games after being traded to the Blue Jays before paying a teammate for number 24. They won the World Series, and that’s better than anyone else wearing 14 in Blue Jays history can say.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxl1tFe4EEs

National League

  • Arizona Diamondbacks – Ryan Roberts. Yup, look it up…that’s as good as it gets in Arizona
  • Atlanta Braves – Martin Prado – Prado has had the best career longevity wise wearing 14, but  Andres Galarraga is a bigger name. Prado wins out in this case.
  • Chicago Cubs – Ernie Banks (number retired)
  • Cincinnati Reds – Pete Rose – Duh
  • Colorado Rockies – Andres Galarraga
  • Los Angeles Dodgers – Gil Hodges
  • Miami Marlins – Josh Willingham
  • Milwaukee Brewers – Um….Ollie Brown? Seriously, throw a dart at the wall for this one.
  • New York Mets –  Gil Hodges – Another interesting nugget: Hodges, who was a great player (and our choice as the best Dodger to wear 14), who manged a terrible Mets team to some of their best years in franchise history, including a World Series title over the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles in 1969.
  • Philadelphia Phillies –  Jim Bunning (number retired) – Also our choice for Detroit’s best ever “14”.
  • Pittsburgh Pirates – Gene Alley
  • St. Louis Cardinals – Ken Boyer (number retired)
  • San Diego Padres – Mark Kotsay. It’s not pretty in San Diego…so Kotsay wins by default.
  • San Francisco Giants – Willie Mays – Mays wore 14 for ONE year in San Francisco. That year? 1951…or as some will be quick to point out, his first year, when he won Rookie Of The Year.
  • Washington Nationals –  Andres Galarraga – Pete Rose wore 14 for one year in 1984, but Galarraga was a staple for the Expos while wearing 14.

Disagree with our list of the best players who wore number 14! State your case to us!

References: baseball-almanac.comPhoto: ChicagoNow.com