We’re kicking off a new series; and we’re going by the numbers. This countdown is dedicated to the best players of all-time by each jersey number. No concrete formula here, just career stats, impact on the game, and some good old fashion opinion. Let’s hop right in.
99 – Wayne Gretzky
He’s called “The Great One” for a reason. Hard to pick a favorite stat to demonstrate Gretzky’s dominance, but one of my favorites is that if he never scored a goal, he still would have had 11 straight 100-point seasons and won four scoring titles.
Honorable Mentions: Manny Ramirez, George Mikan, Warren Sapp
98 – Casey Hampton
Not a widely popular number, so not our largest name on the list. Appropriately nicknamed “Big Snacks,” Hampton made five Pro Bowls as the Steelers nose tackle in the early aughts.
Honorable Mentions: Jason Collins
97 – Jeremy Roenick
Maybe not the best guy, but a pretty good hockey player. The eighth overall pick in the 1988 NHL draft scored 1,216 points in 1,363 games played.
Honorable Mentions: Bryant Young, Cam Heyward
96 – Cortez Kennedy
Kennedy recorded 58 sacks in his 11 seasons for the Seahawks. He recorded 569 tackles and 11 forced fumbles.
Honorable Mentions: Metta World Peace, Tomas Holmstrom
95 – Richard Dent
A bonafide Hall of Famer who was a part of one of the greatest defenses of all time, the ’85 Bears. What more can you ask for?
Honorable Mentions: N/A
94 – Charles Haley
The defensive centerpiece of two all-time franchises in the Cowboys and 49ers.
Honorable Mention: Demarcus Ware
93 – John Randle
Anyone who goes undrafted in their respective sport and go on to become a Hall of Famer is good enough for this list. Randle made seven Pro Bowls and was a six time first team All-Pro selection en route to Canton.
Honorable Mentions: Pat Neshak, Metta World Peace
92 – Reggie White
“The Minister of Defense” was one of the greatest free agent signings of all time, when he left the Philadelphia Eagles in 1992 and signed with the Green Bay Packers. He finished his career with 198 sacks, two NFL defensive player of the year awards, and a Super Bowl ring.
Honorable Mentions: DeShawn Stevenson, Gabriel Landeskog
91 – Dennis Rodman
An obvious answer for a surprisingly strong number. But Rodman’s five rings, seven NBA All-Defensive first selections, and nearly 12,000 career rebounds puts him on our list.
Honorable Mentions: Kevin Greene, Sergei Fedorov
90 – Ndamukong Suh
Suh has had a late-career number change to 93, but he donned 90 early in his career for the Lions when he was arguable at his best. During his time rocking the big 9-0, Suh was the NFL Rookie of the Year, made four Pro Bowls, and was a three time NFL First Team All-Pro.
Honorable Mention: Ryan O’Reilly
High numbers, a lot of hockey players and defensive lineman, to be expected. Will we have some different sports and positions represented in our next set of jersey numbers, 89-80? Only time will tell.