The Greats who wore #27, Baseball’s Best
Last week you saw my top NHL players who wore the number 27 on their backs, this week it is baseball! Keep in mind the guys picked are all players who wore the number for the majority of their careers. Let’s get the ball rolling with our first player!
Kevin Brown: Teams: Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, Florida Marlins, San Diego Padres, LA Dodgers and the New York Yankees. Pitcher
Numbers: 211 Wins 144 Losses, ERA 3.28, 2397 Strikeouts, 1.22 WHIP
Awards: 6-time All-Star, World Series Champion 1997 (Marlins)
Kevin Brown for the first half of his career wore # 43 and then # 41 on his back in Texas and Baltimore, but after moving to the Florida Marlins he swiched to #27, and would keep the number for the rest of his career. With the Marlins in1996 Brown finished second in voting for the CY Young award losing to John Smoltz of the Atlanta Braves. In 1997 Brown pitched a complete game in game 6 of the National League Championship Series defeating the Atlanta Braves and helping the Marlins on their run to be crowned World Series Champs. From 1995-2001 Brown had at least 10 wins, over 100 strikeouts and a sub 3.00 ERA, every year.
Juan Marichal: San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox, LA Dodgers, Pitcher
Numbers: 243-142 win-loss, 2.89 ERA, 2303 Strikeouts, 1.10 WHIP
Awards: 10 time All-Star, 1965 All-Star MVP, Pitched a no-hitter on June 15 1963, number 27 jersey retired by the Giants, inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983.
Juan Marichal played his first MLB game July 19, 1960 and was the second pitcher to come from the Dominican Republic. He won more games than any pitcher in the 1960’s with 191, however due to differences in voting for the CY Young at that time Marichal was never able to win the award. He finished with over 20 wins in six different seasons, and in three of those six seasons he had over 25 wins. He would strike out 200+ batters four times in his career. From 1963-68 he would never have an era over 3.00 and his lowest ever in a regular season was 2.10. He only wore 27 as a Giant, but that was from 1960-1973, Marichal was truly one of the best pitchers to wear 27.
Carlton Fisk: Teams Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, Catcher
Numbers: 2499 Games, 1276 runs, 2356 Hits, 367 Homeruns, 1330 RBIs, 269 avg
Awards: 11x All-Star, Gold Glove (1972) 3x Silver Slugger. 1972 Rookie of the Year, Number 27 Jersey retired with the Boston Red Sox and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2000.
From 1971-1980 Carlton Fisk wore number 27 while playing for the Boston Red Sox. One of his most iconic moments came late in the 6th game of the 1975 World Series at Fenway Park in Boston, where he hit a ball off of the Cincinnati Reds pitcher Par Darcy. The ball he hit was going down the left field line and seemed to be heading foul. Fisk stood at the plate, jumping and motioning the ball to stay fair. The ball would hit the foul pole for a homerun, winning the game for Boston and forcing game seven. Although the Sox would ultimately lose the series, it is still a treasured memory in Boston. The funny part about this story is that the cameraman was supposed to follow the ball, but because of an apparent rat nearby it had distracted the cameraman and he kept the camera on Fisk. When Fisk retired he held the record for most homeruns by a catcher, but Mike Piazza would later pass him on the list.
Scott Rolen: Philadelphia Phillies, St-Louis Cardinals, Toronto Blue Jays, and Cincinnati Reds. Third Baseman
Numbers: 2077 hits, 1211 runs, 316 homeruns, 1287 RBIs, 281 avg
Awards: 7x All-Star, 8x Gold Glove Winner, Silver Slugger (2002) NL Rookie of the Year (1997) World Series Champ (2006)
Rolen retired after the 2012 season. He was a solid third basemen on any team he played for. He wore the number 27 for 10 years from 2002-12 except for the small stint he had in Toronto. He was a decent player with the Jays, although injured for a good chunk of the time he was in Toronto, but Jays fans will remember that he was traded for slugger Edwin Encarnacion. His longer stints with the Reds, Phillies and Cardinals had him portrayed as an impact player on some very good teams. He had 5 seasons with 100+ RBIs, 10 seasons with 20 homeruns and 3 with 30. Rolen was a solid player with a good glove, making him a very valuable third basemen and player who wore the number 27.
James “Catfish” Hunter: Kansas City Athletics, Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees, Pitcher
Numbers 224 Wins, 2012 Ks, 3.26 ERA and 181 Complete Games
Awards: 8× All-Star, 5× World Series champion, 1974 AL Cy Young Award, Pitched a perfect game on May 8, 1968, Oakland Athletics #27 retired, Baseball Hall of Fame
A member of the 3 in a row World Series Champion Oakland Athletics of the Early 70s, and the Back to Back World Series Champions Yankees of the late 70s, Catfish Hunter was a truly great pitcher. Hunter was the fourth (and last) American League Pitcher to win 20 games in five consecutive seasons (1971-1975). However his contribution to the game may be even bigger than his accomplishments on the field. In 1975 Catfish Hunter successfully challenged his contract with the Oakland Athletics over a missed $50,000 insurance payment. Hunter became the sports first “free agent” and went on to be the highest paid player in baseball signing for $3.75 million with the New York Yankees. The event changed the game.
Vladimir Guerrero: Montreal Expos, LA Angels, Texas Rangers, and Baltimore Orioles
Numbers: 2590 Hits, 1328 Runs, 449 Homeruns, 1496 RBI’s, 318 avg
Awards: 9x All-Star, AL MVP (2004), 8x Silver Slugger, 2007 Homerun Derby Winner, 2x 30-30 Club (30 homeruns, 30 stolen bases), hit for the cycle on September 14, 2003
For those who have read any of my articles before you know that Guerrero was one of my favorite players growing up and will forever be one of my all-time favorites. It is not just a bias that gets him on the list, he is also one of the best to ever wear the number 27 and in a 16 year career that is the only number he wore. Guerrero only won one MVP, but he probably should have won a few more as an Expo. One of the big factors was that he played in an era where Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire were duking it out in the homerun race and later Barry Bonds trying to beat them at their own game. Vlady was a unique player who would never wear batting gloves and had a free-swinging style, but was loved in Montreal and any other team he played for. He is a future hall-of-famer and one of the best to ever wear # 27 in all sports.
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